Most Americans Eager to Use Digital Health Tools

Today's Wired Patient - INFOGRAPHIC

Today’s Wired Patient – This infographic from Makovsky Health survey shows that, from online search to wearables, technology is changing patient-focused healthcare every step of the way. [Scroll down for a larger version, or click the image for the full size.]

According to the Fifth Annual “Pulse of Online Health” Survey, 66% of Americans are eager to leverage digital tools to manage personal health.

Today’s Wired Patient – This infographic from Makovsky Health survey shows that, from online search to wearables, technology is changing patient-focused healthcare every step of the way. [Scroll down for a larger version, or click the image for the full size.]

This year’s survey reveals consumer readiness to leverage health apps and wearable devices to improve their personal health, and to disclose online personal health data as a path to improved treatment options, trust and quality of health information were cited as important factors in selecting online health sources.

“Smartphones and wearables are driving a major behavioral shift in consumer health and wellness,” said Gil Bashe, executive vice president, Makovsky Health.

Consumers eager to leverage technology for better health

Top interests when downloading and using mobile health apps reflect proactive desires for informative, functional and interactive programs:

  • Tracking diet/nutrition (47%),
  • Medication reminders (46%),
  • Tracking symptoms (45%), and
  • Tracking physical activity (44%).

Motivators for using a mobile app vary across health conditions. More than six in 10 (63%) Americans with gastrointestinal conditions would use mobile health apps to track diet and nutrition; among obese or overweight consumers, 61% would make use of a mobile app to communicate with a doctor; half (50%) of those with pulmonary conditions would use a mobile app for medication reminders; and 52% of Americans with cardiovascular issues would use a mobile app to track sleeping patterns.

Similarly, 79% of Americans would be willing to use a wearable device to manage their health – but with slightly different preferences when selecting a wearable compared to mobile apps:

  • Tracking physical activity (52%),
  • Tracking symptoms (45%),
  • Managing a personal health issue or condition (43%),
  • Tracking sleep patterns (41%), and
  • Tracking diet/nutrition (39%).

Additionally, 88% of Americans would be willing to share their personal information for the sake of improving care and treatment options, proving that many consumers feel there is a value in digital advancements that empower them to manage their health, and potentially opening the door for more streamlined physician engagement.

Healthcare Decisions Still Guided by Perceived Quality of Information

Trust and quality sources for healthcare information are important to consumers, and people are three times more likely to look to WebMD (57%) over government-affiliated websites such as the CDC (17%) or FDA (16%).

“It’s amazing that, almost 20 years after it launched, WebMD has become America’s doctor.  Online searches are the new house call. This survey shows Americans aren’t relying exclusively on healthcare providers or the government for health information these days, underscoring the enormous opportunity for health news organizations and healthcare companies to become go-to sources,” said Tom Bernthal, founder and CEO of Kelton.

Among the 91% of Americans who would search online for health information, condition management (58%), exploring symptoms (57%), and researching a prescribed treatment (55%) are the most popular motivators. In contrast, if consumers were diagnosed with a medical condition, they would be most likely to research symptoms (41%), treatment options (26%), and specialized doctors and care facilities (18%).

Of the 80% of Americans willing to visit a pharma-sponsored website, those 66 and older were more likely to visit the site if a healthcare professional recommended it (52%).  Doctor recommendation matters less to Millennials, with 41% visiting a site based on physician suggestion, and Millennials are also 23% more likely to be motivated by an advertisement to visit a pharma-sponsored website than those 66 and older.

When it comes to social media, Millennials are 25% more likely to trust a pharma-sponsored platform than those 66 and older (31% vs. 6%). Social media lacks authority with the general population as 79% of respondents reported they trust these channels either “a little bit” or “not at all.”  Patients with a diagnosed chronic medical condition, however, report “complete trust” in these channels at nearly double the rate of the average population.

Willingness To Pay For Innovation

Although medication cost remains a hot-button issue and concern for Americans, many are willing to dig deeper into their pockets for improved care. If deciding between a newer brand-name medication with a $30 copay and an older medication with a $10 copay, 84% of the country would choose the more expensive option. Top factors influencing this decision would be: fewer side effects (62%), data showing the medication was more effective than the less expensive option (60%), doctor recommendation (52%) and easier dosing (36%).

More Millennials (56%) than those 66 and older (45%) said they would be motivated by data showing the medication was more effective, or by fewer side effects (55% vs. 43%), while more people 66 and older (49%) than Millennials (43%) would be motivated by the recommendation of a healthcare professional.

“Fewer side effects” would be a stronger motivator to opt for a more expensive brand-name drug for Americans with mental health issues (72%) and gastrointestinal disease (67%), as well as those who are overweight or obese (69%). Data showing greater effectiveness of the medication would motivate 72% of mental health patients, 67 % of cancer patients, 67% of cardiovascular patients and 70% of those who have had surgery to pay for the costlier medication.

Today’s Wired Patient [INFOGRAPHIC]

About the “Pulse of Online Health”Survey

Fielded in January 2015 to 1,015 nationally representative Americans ages 18 and older by Kelton, the Makovsky Health survey investigated consumers’ behavior and preferences for engaging with online healthcare information. The margin of error is +/- 3.1 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.

About Makovsky Health

Named “Healthcare Agency of the Year” by The Holmes Report, Makovsky Health is leading healthcare communications in its ongoing mission to improve the lives of patients served by biotech, pharmaceutical, wellness and device manufacturing companies.  Makovsky campaigns have been recognized by industry peers as the “Best in Healthcare,” “Best Education/Public Service Campaign” and “Best of the Best.” To learn more about the agency, please visit

About Kelton

Kelton is a research, strategy and design consultancy that works with many of the world’s largest and most recognizable brands to help them better understand and connect with consumers. Kelton provides highly customized qualitative, quantitative, innovation and design research for a wide variety of companies across multiple sectors. For more information, please visit

Media Contact:
Bridgette Haxton
Makovsky Health
Office: 212-508-9637