3 Factors Fueling Growth in Mobile Health Apps
- Increased incidence of chronic diseases. According to the CDC “chronic diseases – such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes andarthritis – are among the most common, costly and preventable of all health problems in the US.” Among these, diabetes is particularly significant. According the CDC’s 2011 National Diabetes Fact Sheet approximately 26 million or 8.3% of Americans have diabetes. As reported in the January 2012 edition of Health Affairs, an issue devoted entirely to diabetes,an additional 79 million Americans are at high risk of developing the disease over the next 10 years. The cost to treat and manage these patients is enormous. Health Affairs notes that $1 out of every $3 in Medicare is spent on the disease. UnitedHealth,one of the nation’s largest health insurers, estimates that treating diabetes in the US will cost $3.4 trillion from 2010 through 2020.
- Proven benefits of self-monitoring, communicating & collaborating. A study at Kaiser Permanente studied nearly 35,000 patients with chronic health conditions, including diabetes over a two month period. The study found that those patients who used email to communicate with their doctors saw a statistically significant improvement in various health measures. Mobile health apps are powerful because they facilitate more frequent communication and allow patients to more actively participate in disease management.
- Shift in how patients access health information. A survey conducted by the Pew Internet project found that 9 percent of cell phone owners have apps that they use to manage their health. The survey also found African Americans and Latinos were more likely to use mobile health apps. This is significant since, as reported by the CDC, these populations are at increased risk of developing chronic illnesses such as diabetes.
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