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Europe approaches mHealth tipping point

Drop the industry shorthand and a significant proportion of consumers are now open to mobile health tools

Medication reminder smartphone iPhone app

Medication reminder apps were one mobile solution to find favour

The UK may have what one report recently termed a 'mobile mountain' to climb when it comes to mHealth adoption, but consumers see things differently when the industry shorthand is dropped.

Research agency Bryter did just that with a project entitled: Do Europeans really want mobile applications and services to help them better understand themselves?

The London-based firm shared their clearly-named work with me and it makes for interesting reading.

They questioned more than 1,100 European adults in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Belgium. Rather than quizzing them on industry buzzwords Bryter wanted to know whether mobile is at the heart of life in Europe when it came to areas like medication, health, exercise, diet and even shopping.

They found, for example, that the idea of an app that would help people better understand what is in their food was appealing to a significant minority (43 per cent) of respondents. Men under 45 were more likely to be taken with the idea compared to women over 45 (49 per cent of men found it appealing versus 36 per cent of women).

Bryter found that a similar number of respondents (41 per cent) were in favour of a smartphone service that could monitor their daily activity, calculate the calories uses and make suggestions for improvement based on the individual's goals. Such functionality may be available from the likes of Fitbits, Jawbones and other such devices, but the survey, which was broadly representative of the wider population, puts mobile technology in a context that goes beyond early adopters.

When it came to health, the research's focus included looking at apps for health monitoring. Some 43 per cent of respondents liked the idea of an app that could monitor their pulse and blood pressure and then alert them to any potential problems, as well as suggest ways to improve their health. 

Throughout the research Bryter found men under the age of 45 were more likely to be open to mobile tools. A notable exception to this rule was when it came to medication management apps. The idea of a smartphone app that could help you remember to take your medicine at the right time, and contact your pharmacy for a prescription refill, was appealing to 49 per cent of men over 45, ahead of the general population, 43 per cent of whom liked the idea.

You'll have noticed that Bryter's headlines results all hover around the 40-50 per cent mark. It means we're generally not talking about majority acceptance of mHealth (yet), but there are significant numbers of Europeans who do want mobile applications and services to better understand themselves.

15th January 2014

From: Marketing, Healthcare



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