For Boomers, Doctor Knows Best When It Comes To Apps

How can mobile health connect their services to America’s nearly 78 million baby boomers?

Image credit debh2011

Think ‘technology’ and your grandmother probably isn’t the first person to come to mind. But as health services increasingly become available on our mobile devices, she may be just the person they had in mind. According to 2010 Social Security data, nearly one quarter of the American population falls into the boomer category; this group has a projected average lifespan of 88 years and have a unique set of needs–providing these individuals with access to a wide range of mobile health apps has never been more important. However, as this group is not known for being early adopters, how can these services best reach them?

A recent poll conducted by Mitchell Research and Communications revealed the power that doctors have in recommending apps for chronic and life threatening diseases. The 600 Baby-boomers surveyed said they are more willing to download a health and wellness app based on their doctor’s recommendation and were much less likely to download an app recommend by their family or friends.

Some of the findings from the study:

  • 5% would download an app recommended by their friends
  • 18% would download an app recommended by their family
  • 60% would download an app recommended by their doctor

Patients with chronic or life threatening conditions were 70 percent more likely to download an app to track their medical issues, while only half of users would download an app looking for general information or weight loss help.

Image credit David Nicholai

Mitchell says that 24 percent of the nation’s 78 million baby boomers own smartphones; their survey should help prove how influential doctors can be in helping patients adopt the use of mobile health apps to monitor their own health and thus improve their quality of life.

And while we here at PSFK might not be doctors per say, in light of this study we thought we’d take a look back at some of the most interesting health-related apps uncovered during our ongoing look into the health and wellness space. Whether helping to improve a person’s life in between doctor’s visits or enabling physicians to provide better care, the five apps below represent some of our recent favorites.

Zipongo:  Giving users discounts and rewards for making healthy choices
Zipongo is a health planning technology and iPhone app that allows users to customize and manage their own personalized wellness plans.

Noom: Helping users lose weight without tracking every meal
Noom, a New York City-based maker of Android-based fitness and health apps, developed Weight Loss Coach, an app that does not require users to enter in every meal or track every physical activity.

JiffPad:  A visual play-by-play of personal medical consulations
JiffPad is an iPad app that helps patients capture crucial information discussed during their medical visits by letting doctors share and capture information in a visual format, removing the barriers of communication.

DocBookMD: Letting on-call doctors communicate with patients ‘on-the-go’
The new app DocBookMD allows doctors to send and receive secure HIPAA-compliant patient information – X-Rays, lab results, or EKGs – directly from their iPhone or iPad, and get a response from another doctor-user in minutes.

BeImmunized: Digitized immunization records that help track vaccinations
The startup BeImmunized aims to digitize all immunization records, making this information instantly accessible to doctors, patients, healthcare workers, and schools.

BeImmunized // JiffPad // DocBookMD //  Zipongo // Noom

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