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Survey on Consumer Engagement and Health Tracking

By Clive Riddle, October 25, 2013

Partners Healthcare’s Center for Connected Health, commissioned Harris Interactive to survey 2,000+ consumers on health engagement and tech driven tools to monitor health and wellness, in conjunction with the launch of the Center’s new Wellocracy program.  They found that almost half of respondents (48%) say they have trouble staying motivated to live a healthy life, and less than a fourth (22%) are very confident that they can keep track of their own health.

Joseph C. Kvedar, MD, the founder and director of the Center for Connected Health tells us, "there are dozens of activity and health trackers on the market today, and literally thousands of health apps available for consumers. Yet, instead of getting people moving towards a healthy lifestyle, most feel paralyzed by all these choices and the technology can be dizzying. "We know that if we give people -- young and old -- insights into their health and help them understand how lifestyle choices impact quality of life, they feel more accountable, engaged and live a healthier, more active life. Integrating 'self-health' tools like activity and nutrition trackers and sleep monitors into our daily lives, we can learn from our own behaviors and make positive changes to take charge of our health. We're taking these devices and apps, personalizing the experience and helping people figure out the right health technologies, the right strategy and the right inspiration to get on the right track to health and wellness."

Here’s finding the Center has shared from the survey results:

  • 68% of consumers agree that encouragement from friends and family is important for them to achieve health goals
  • 65% of consumers believe that using a health tracking device, website or app would be beneficial,
  • 32% felt these tools would help them stay motivated to meet health and fitness goals
  • 31% believe the tools would provide accountability
  • 27% felt the tools would help them stay in control of their health
  • 86% believe that feeling informed about their own health is empowering
  • 59% of women and 56% of men aged 35-44 reported that it is hard to stay motivated to live a healthy life
  • 52% and 51%, respectively of women and men aged 35-44 wished they could make better use of technology to keep track of their health
  • 55% of women and 49% of men aged 18-44 believe that easy tracking  is essential to achieving health-related goals
  • 48% of women and 42% of men aged 18-34 reported that encouragement from family and friends is essential
  • 42% of women and only 20% of men aged 45-54 reported that support and tools from their healthcare provider is essential
  • 19% of women and 17% of men aged 35-44 are very confident in their ability to keep track of their own health
  • 25% of women and 21% of men aged 55 and over are very confident in their ability to keep track of their own health
  • 56% of all consumers  have never used any type of health tracking device, app or website
  • Adults aged 18-34, were most likely to use diet (23%) or fitness apps (26%) on their phones
  • 7% of adults aged 55 and over reported ever using a diet app and only 3% have used a fitness app on their phone
  • 35-44 year olds were the age group reporting the highest use of digital activity pedometers (19%)
  • 5% of adults aged 18 and over reported ever using a sleep tracker

While these results are encouraging for engagement initiatives, we need to remember that they survey indicates more than half of consumers have never used any such tool – even a website.

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