25 Percent of Americans Trust Apps as Much as Doctors

Posted on January 4, 2013 I Written By

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way.

A survey done by Royal Philips Electronics revealed that about one-quarter of Americans trust mHealth apps as much as they would trust their doctor. 

This survey also showed that about 27 percent of those surveyed use mobile apps instead of going to the doctor. Even more interesting, is that 1 in 10 of those surveyed felt that “if it were not for web-based health information, ‘they might already be dead or severely incapacitated.”

I thought this was a very interesting study. The sample size was 1,003 people, with 503 men and 500 men over the age of 18, so I feel like it’s pretty legitimate. At first, I thought it was kind of strange that people trust mHealth apps as much as their doctors, but then I realized…I’m probably in that 25 percent as well. To be honest, I think I sometimes trust the Internet and mHealth apps more than our doctors.

Concerning the study, Dr. Eric Silfen, the Chief Medical Officers of Philips Healthcare, had some interesting thoughts:

We are in the early stages of the web-enabled, mHealth, mobile app world of healthcare delivery. Near-future apps will focus on tying together health information technologies, connecting with doctors, nurses, healthcare professionals and patients, all within a social context that facilitates shared medical decision-making. This evolution will harken the new vital signs of the clinical times with technologies that help prevent medical errors, lower the financial and social cost of care, sustain a higher quality of medical practice and support an evidence-based standard for medicine in general. Ultimately, the technological undercurrents of the post-PC world – the power of many, designer gadgets, cloud ecosystems, and mobile app computing -will hasten the personalization and partnerships that will transform sustainable medical care to the highest quality.

I think in the future, even more people will be trusting their mHealth apps just as much (or even more!) than their doctors. There are so many apps and technologies that are coming out, on what seems like a daily basis, and they are only going to get better. Sometimes, a doctor appointment can be rushed and a patient can leave feeling discouraged about the information they got — having access to so much health information, as well as gadgets that can diagnose illness, might become more popular. Definitely an interesting study though, and encouraging for mHealth app creators.