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Early mHealth Adopters Want to Prevent, Control Chronic Conditions

Apr 11, 2016

New research from Kantar Health shows chronic disease patients who are using mHealth technologies have more complications.

NEW YORK, April 11, 2016—While mHealth technologies are gaining popularity for tracking general health, many consumers are using mHealth devices to actively try to lower their risks of developing certain chronic conditions, according to a new report from Kantar Health, a leading global healthcare consulting and market research firm. Edge of Insight: Connecting with the mHealth Consumer shows that consumer uptake for this technology remains low but shows promise for people looking to prevent or control chronic conditions.                               

“Despite all of the hoopla surrounding mHealth, uptake is still relatively low in the United States,” said Brian Mondry, Global Head of Digital Innovation at Kantar Health. “Our research uncovered that 46% of users of mHealth technology are actively trying to lower their risk of developing chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and stroke. Currently, the chronic disease patients who are using mHealth devices are not only experiencing more complications from their disease but also are more likely to self-medicate with over-the-counter products rather than rely on a prescription for a relatively easily treatable condition like hypertension.”

Edge of Insight: Connecting with the mHealth Consumer explores awareness and use of mHealth technologies, profiles mHealth technology users versus non-users, and explores health-related outcomes and disease control of users compared with non-users. Key findings include:

  • 37% of American adults use at least one website, app or wearable device to manage their general health and wellness.
  • Just 7% use a wearable activity tracker such as Fitbit or Garmin. The majority of users are women.
  • Patients with diabetes who use web-connected glucose meters experience hypoglycemia episodes severe enough to need assistance much more frequently than those who are not aware of these meters.
  • Patients with high blood pressure who use web-connected blood pressure monitors are more likely to have experienced hypertension-related complications than non-users and are more likely to treat their condition with an over-the-counter medication rather than a prescription.

“Integrating mHealth with EHR systems will enable physicians to adjust medication dosages, suggest lifestyle changes, or spot a red flag before a health emergency arises,” Mondry said. “At the end of the day, patients’ lives and health outcomes will be improved. But the implications of mHealth technology extend beyond personal health to the future of the healthcare, insurance and pharmaceutical industries. Much as drug non-adherence has a devastating impact on health and healthcare costs, soon we may be calculating the spiraling costs associated with non-adherence around mHealth technology.”

Edge of Insight: Connecting with the mHealth Consumer is the latest report from Kantar Health’s patient-centric research program, helping the healthcare industry improve patients’ lives. The analysis is based on data from the National Health and Wellness Survey (NHWS), conducted March to October 2015, among 97,700 American adults. NHWS is a nationally representative, self-administered survey conducted annually. Topics covered include the health status, attitudes, behaviors and outcomes among adults 18 or older.

About Kantar Health

Kantar Health is a leading global healthcare consulting firm and trusted advisor to many pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical device and diagnostic companies worldwide. It combines evidence-based research capabilities with deep scientific, therapeutic and clinical knowledge, commercial development know-how, and brand and marketing expertise to help clients evaluate opportunities, launch products and maintain brand and market leadership.

Kantar Health deeply understands the influence of patients, payers and physicians, especially as they relate to the performance and payment of medicines and the delivery of healthcare services. Its 600+ healthcare industry specialists work across the product lifecycle, from preclinical development to launch, acting as catalysts to successful decision-making in life sciences and helping clients prioritize their product development and portfolio activities, differentiate their brands and drive product success post-launch. Kantar Health is part of Kantar, the data investment management division of WPP. For more information, please visit