One Quarter of US Consumers Report Trusting mHealth Apps As Much as Their Own Doctor

12-18-2012 4-40-52 PM

Philips Healthcare releases a recent study which suggests that 25 percent of US consumers trust mobile health apps, home monitors, and online symptom checkers as much as they do physicians.

The study, which polled more than 1,000 adults, found that 27 percent of the population uses these resources as an alternative to going to the doctor. Additionally, 11 percent of the respondents indicated that “they might already be dead or severely incapacitated” if not for access to these technologies.

“We are in the early stages of the web-enabled, mHealth, mobile app world of healthcare delivery. Near- future apps will focus on tying together health information technologies, connecting with doctors, nurses, healthcare professionals and patients, all within a social context that facilitates shared medical decision-making,” – Dr. Eric Silfen, CMO of Philips Healthcare.

While the study does purport some hopeful statistics, the results should be taken with a serious grain of salt, as they largely conflict with previous studies that have suggested serious clinical quality shortcomings within the mHealth app marketplace and other studies that have shown a perpetual stagnation in mHealth adoption growth.

There is also a fundamental data integrity issue with lumping online symptom checkers and mHealth apps in with home monitoring devices such as continuous insulin monitors, and then suggesting that the positive respondent responses apply to all of the technologies.

Another credibility issue lies in the fact that Philips publishes their study in both a traditional white paper, but also a flashy consumer-oriented infographic. The nail in the coffin, however, is that Philips advertises its own mHealth app offerings in the conclusion of the study.

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