Survey: One in four US adults have refilled an Rx via smartphone, but 62 percent want to

By Jonah Comstock
04:54 pm
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A new survey of 1,000 US adults from Adobe Digital Insights found that consumers, especially younger consumers, are bullish on health apps, but their enthusiasm sometimes outpaces the technology available to them.

Adobe asked respondents about a number of health-related activities whether they had done them via a smartphone and whether they would, if given the chance, elect to do them exclusively via smartphone. The number who wanted to do the activities exclusively via mobile was between twice and three times the number that actually had done them.

For instance, 35 percent said they had tracked fitness on a smartphone, but 63 percent said they would like to track their fitness exclusively on a smartphone. Twenty-six percent had refilled a prescription on a smartphone, but 62 percent liked the idea of refilling all their precriptions via smartphone. Seventeen percent had emailed their doctor from their phone; 59 percent only wanted to email their doctor from their phone. 

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As in the survey from Telus Health earlier this week, the disconnect between consumers' actual and ideal use of mobile health seems to be a combination of access and awareness. 

“The problem is that the healthcare industry, in general, hasn’t yet caught up to be able to deliver on people’s digital demands and expectations,” Matthew Roberts, an analyst at ADI, said in a statement. “Furthermore, we’re seeing that the companies that are delivering smartphone experiences, such as apps, are not doing enough in driving awareness and adoption.”

Just 40 percent of 18 to 24 year-olds, 57 percent of 25 to 34 year-olds and 37 percent of those 35 and over said they had an app from their health insurer. Thirty-six percent of the whole survey group wasn't sure whether their health insurer provided an app or not. 

Asked whether they were comfortable using an app to diagnose themselves based on their current symptoms, a surprising number of respondents said they were. Fifty-six percent of the 18 to 24 group and 59 percent of 25 to 34 year-olds proclaimed themselves comfortable using an app to self-diagnose, compared to 50 percent of the 35 to 49 group, 40 percent of those aged 50 to 65, and just 25 percent of senior citizens.

But one thing consumers aren't that comfortable with yet is sharing health information with thier insurers. Just 14 percent of those surveyed said they would share health information with their insurer, compared with 22 percent who were comfortable sharing that information with "a health-related app or website". That's compared to 36 percent that declared themselves uncomfortable sharing info with an insurer and 27 percent uncomfortable sharing health information with a website or app.

Finally, ADI asked folks to group themselves into "digital savvy" and non-savvy consumers. The two groups perceived differently the state of healthcare in general. Self-described digital savvy consumers were twice as likely as non-savvy consumers to say that the quality of healthcare has improved over the last five years.

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