With rising medical costs and shrinking insurance coverage, consumers are turning to online resources to manage their health. In today’s economy, having health insurance does not guarantee that a consumer can actually afford the necessary medical treatment and care they need. According to a recent Bankrate survey, nearly 25% of American families are forgoing routine doctor’s visits and opting not to refill prescriptions as a way to lower their medical costs.[1] As the rate of consumer debt increases, this trend is estimated to continue, if not accelerate.

Small family made of paper on a desk with a heart and a stethoscope

What are consumers doing instead of visiting the doctor?

Despite not keeping up with regular visits to healthcare providers, American consumers are staying on top of their health in other, more affordable ways. The use of health apps and wearable health monitoring devices, in the United States, has increased rapidly over the past four years. According to researchers, the number of consumers who have downloaded a health app has increased from 16% in 2014 to 33% today, and the number of consumers who use health wearables has also increased from 9% to 21%, during the same time.[2] As the cost of health apps continue to fall, making them an attractive option for consumers, their rate of adoption is expected to dramatically increase. Of those consumers who do not currently own a health app, 79% say that they will likely purchase one within the next 12 months.[3]

Woman using health and fitness app to track her fitness

Are consumers really using mobile healthcare apps and devices?

Since health apps and wearables can range in cost from $9.99 to $250, consumers are both paying for these devices and using them regularly. In fact, 65% of those who have purchased a health and fitness app acknowledge using it at least once per week for up to 30 minutes.[4] And, 32% of adults in the United States are reliant on mobile apps to track their physical activity, manage their weight, or to reach their health goals.

Patient contact his doctor via laptop

What does this trend mean for healthcare providers?

It is time to “go digital” to better serve the informed healthcare consumer. By offering a health-related app, healthcare providers can connect and engage with patients, between visits. When polled, over 90% of American patients say that they are willing to use a health or fitness app if recommended or affiliated with their doctor.[5] This represents an incredible opportunity for hospital systems and healthcare providers to leverage their influence and credibility to reach a larger patient audience. And, with 59% of consumers being cautious about what websites they access for health and wellness information, healthcare providers can use educational campaigns as a way to both inform patients and market their services.[6]

Staying in front of the informed consumer can be a constant challenge for health and wellness providers. Understanding how the digital and economic landscapes influence health-related decisions and consumer behavior is an important part of crafting an effective marketing strategy. At Response Mine Health, our healthcare marketers are continuously studying consumer trends and identifying ways that healthcare providers can leverage current research to better position themselves in the market.

 

Since healthcare apps are set to revolutionize how and if patients use your services – it’s time to act. Missing out on your opportunity to reach the new “digital” consumer could be catastrophic for your bottom line.

Contact us today to see what you can do now to position your company to actually attract more customers, not lose them.

 

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