DALLAS, April 3, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Digital health devices and apps may not be doing enough to help newly insured consumers, found a March HealthMine survey. Consumers insured after the Affordable Care Act's expanded coverage in 2014 are sicker and costlier healthcare patients than previous generations, according to a new report by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA). HealthMine's survey of 500 insured consumers found that 59% suffer from a chronic condition. But only 7% of these individuals are using a disease management tool, while 50% use a fitness/activity tracker device or app. Fifty-two percent (52%) of respondents are enrolled in a wellness program, and 33% received their health device/app from their wellness program.
Chronic Disease The BCBSA report found that newer insured customers had higher rates of diabetes, depression and high blood pressure, among other conditions. They also visited the emergency room much more frequently than people who had private, individual coverage before the law expanded. HealthMine's survey respondents suffered from a range of chronic conditions, with mental illness, chronic pain and obesity among the most common:
*Total percentage exceeds 100% because many respondents have more than one chronic condition.
Respondents also utilized one or more digital health apps and tools, with activity trackers and nutrition apps among the most popular:
Digital Health Tool*
Weight loss app
Wearable activity tracker (Fitbit, Jawbone, Apple Watch, etc.)
Heart rate app
Blood pressure app
Mood/emotional well-being app
Price comparison app for prescription drugs
Price comparison app for medical/provider services
Blood glucose monitor
Internet connected thermometer
Disease management app
Smoking cessation app
*Total percentage exceeds 100% because many respondents have more than one digital health tool.
More than half (52%) of these individuals are enrolled in a wellness program and two thirds (66%) say their program offers incentives for using digital health tools. But when asked: "what is the biggest motivator to use these technology tools?", "knowledge of my numbers" was the number one answer (42%). Only 10% of consumers say incentives are their biggest motivator to use digital health.
Biggest Motivator To Use Digital Health Tools
Knowledge--I know my numbers
Improving my health--It helps me manage my condition/reach my health goals
Accountability--I know someone is tracking the results
Incentive--I know I can earn a reward for using it
Nothing—I am not really motivated to use it
However, when asked if incentives motivated users to use their digital health tools more frequently, 91% said yes.
Bryce Williams, CEO and President of HealthMine said, "Digital health tools have exploded in growth—but more so in the lifestyle management category than in clinical/disease management." He continued, "Every member may not benefit from an activity tracker. For these tools to be effective, they must be tailored to individual needs and connect to the individual's bigger picture of health data."
About the Survey The HealthMine Survey queried 500 consumers who use mobile and/or Internet-connected health applications/devices and are enrolled in a 2016 health plan. The survey was fielded by Survey Sampling International (SSI) in March of 2016. Data was collected via an opt-in panel. The margin of error is 4%. Survey Sampling International (SSI) has been the Worldwide Leader in Survey Sampling and Data Collection Solutions, across every mode, for 37 Years.
About HealthMine HealthMine, a leading consumer health engagement company, has developed the wellness industry's first and only Personal Clinical Engagement solution. HealthMine empowers individuals to make meaning of their health information by automatically collecting clinical data, identifying risk for chronic disease, and setting health goals. Making it easy for consumers to manage their own health, HealthMine provides a personalized health portal available on any device, and delivers tailored recommendations, resources and incentives. HealthMine has more than one million users, and has saved employers and payers more than $100 million in healthcare costs. The company, founded in 2008, is based in Dallas, Texas with offices in San Francisco, New York and Minneapolis.