Consumers Want Greater Simplicity & Increased Sharing On Healthcare Devices

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20th September 2011 14:01 - Business Support

According to a recent study by IBM Institute for Business Value, there is growing demand for medical and healthcare devices for those who want to reduce costs and take more control over their health. This is driven by information seekers - people increasingly turning to technology to help manage health-related challenges and reach their wellness goals – but devices are also targeted at the motivated healthy and those who are chronically monitored. Information seekers, though a larger group than either of the other segments, represents a fragmented market for retailers including those with addictions, migraines, high-blood pressure, sufferers of ADHD or other similar conditions, and the parents of children with any of the above symptoms.

The study surveyed more than 1,300 consumers currently using health and wellness devices in the United Kingdom and United States to account for differing types of healthcare models. The results showed that these consumers are demanding a new generation of health devices, greater simplicity and better information sharing.
Among those surveyed, more than nine out of ten (93%) are satisfied or very satisfied with the basic functionality of their devices. Although fewer than one in ten are currently paying out-of-pocket charges for their devices today, more than one-third expect to do so within two years. Most users are willing to pay for a device, but will not spend more than US$100 out of pocket. An increasing number of consumers also anticipate paying monthly fees in the future; while only one in twenty (5%) pay a monthly charge today, 35% expect to do so in two years.
Half of respondents used devices to measure and manage a known health problem. However, interest in preventative usage is on the rise. Within two years, 30% more respondents expect to be using devices to encourage physical activity, and twice as many will use devices to inform others of someone’s changing health.
Almost unanimously, respondents cited ease-of-use as the top factor in selecting one device over another (96%) with price a clear second (76%).  The top data requirement is privacy and security, as noted by 77% of respondents.  Interestingly, a high percentage of respondents also want to be able to share and use the data in a variety of ways suggesting they want health professionals to incorporate data from health devices into diagnosis and treatment decisions.
Many respondents (71%) rely on healthcare provider recommendations over their own familiarity with the brand (52% for medical devices). Endorsements from healthcare provider associations (64%) carried more weight with respondents than those from insurers (50%), regulatory agencies (49%) and consumer advocacy groups (43%). 
More than half of those surveyed could not recall the brand of their current health device.

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