Americans May Be Ready for a Brave New World of Healthcare

A new Harris Poll finds many U.S. adults are interested in healthcare tools on mobile devices

12:00 AM EST Nov 13, 2014 Rating
  • Tools

New York , N.Y. - November 13, 2014 - While we may still be a few years away from the sort of technology Doctor McCoy used in Star Trek to gain instant access to all that ailed his patients, mobile apps and tools designed to work with smartphones and tablets for monitoring and measuring our health are cropping up in many corners of the healthcare world. This may seem a tad Orwellian to some, but a new survey suggests that Americans are ready to adopt some of these technological opportunities into their healthcare regime.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll® of 2,537 U.S. adults surveyed online between August 13 and 18, 2014.

Nearly half of Americans are extremely or very interested in being able to check their blood pressure (48%) or their heart and heartbeat for irregularities (47%) on their smartphone or tablet, with an additional 23% and 22%, respectively, saying they're somewhat interested. Perhaps the most common health application for mobile devices right now is the variety of apps and peripherals which can be used to track physical activity, and 43% of Americans say they're extremely or very interested in this (with an additional 25% somewhat interested).

Interest is also strong for general blood testing services (41% extremely/very interested and 21% somewhat interested); photographing one's eye, cornea, or retina to diagnose eye problems (40% and 23%); checking blood sugar or glucose levels (39%, 22%); measuring lung function (38%, 23%); and diet tracking (36%, 24%) via mobile devices.

Interest wanes somewhat when it comes to conducting urine tests (26% extremely/very, 19% somewhat) and checking stool samples (19%, 15%) via mobile devices, though clearly such applications are not without proponents.

Differences by generation and gender

Millennials are more likely than their elder counterparts to indicate being extremely or very interested in many of the services and applications evaluated, including:

Meanwhile, blood seems to be a key word for men in particular, as males are more likely to be extremely or very interested in the ability to do each of the following via mobile devices:

Men are also more likely than women to show a strong interest in measuring lung function (41% men vs. 35% women) on smartphones or tablets.

Condition is key

Perhaps not surprisingly, interest for many of these technologies is especially high among those who have chronic or long lasting conditions for which monitoring such biometrics is key:

To see other recent Harris Polls, please visit the Harris Poll News Room.

Want Harris Polls delivered direct to your inbox? Click here!


TABLE 1a

INTERESTED IN SERVICES HEALTHCARE VIA SMARTPHONE OR TABLET

Summary Grid

How interested, if at all, would you be in using each of the following services on a smartphone or a tablet if it were available? Even if you don't currently own or use a smartphone or tablet, please let us know how interested you would be.

Base: U.S. Adults

EXTR/VERY INTERESTED  (NET)

Extremely interested

Very interested

Somewhat interested

Not at all interested

Not sure

Not applicable

Checking my blood pressure

%

48

25

23

23

20

4

5

Checking my heart and my heartbeat for any irregularities

%

47

24

23

22

21

5

5

Using an application that tracks my physical activity (e.g., steps, sleep)

%

43

22

21

22

25

5

5

General blood testing services (e.g., cholesterol, kidney function)

%

41

21

20

21

26

6

6

Photographing my eye, cornea or retina to diagnose an eye problem

%

40

21

19

23

26

6

5

Checking my blood sugar or glucose level

%

39

19

19

22

25

5

9

Measuring my lung function

%

38

19

19

23

28

6

6

Using an application that tracks my diet

%

36

19

17

24

30

5

5

Urine test/Urinalysis

%

26

13

13

19

41

8

6

Stool sample test

%

19

9

10

15

50

8

7

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding


TABLE 1b

INTERESTED IN SERVICES HEALTHCARE VIA SMARTPHONE OR TABLET

Summary of Extremely/Very interested (NET) by Generation & Gender

How interested, if at all, would you be in using each of the following services on a smartphone or a tablet if it were available? Even if you don't currently own or use a smartphone or tablet, please let us know how interested you would be.

Base: U.S. Adults

 

Total

Generation

Gender

Millennials (18-37)

Gen Xers (38-49)

Baby Boomers (50-68)

Matures (69+)

Male

Female

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Checking my blood pressure

48

51

45

47

46

51

45

Checking my heart and my heartbeat for any irregularities

47

53

45

44

45

50

45

Using an application that tracks my physical activity (e.g., steps, sleep)

43

57

45

35

25

43

43

General blood testing services (e.g., cholesterol, kidney function)

41

45

38

39

42

45

38

Photographing my eye, cornea or retina to diagnose an eye problem

40

49

38

34

36

42

38

Checking my blood sugar or glucose level

39

44

35

36

37

43

35

Measuring my lung function

38

46

35

34

34

41

35

Using an application that tracks my diet

36

50

36

28

21

36

35

Urine test/Urinalysis

26

30

24

24

28

28

25

Stool sample test

19

23

17

16

19

21

17

TABLE 1c

INTERESTED IN SERVICES HEALTHCARE VIA SMARTPHONE OR TABLET

Summary of Extremely/Very interested (NET) by Chronic or Long Lasting Conditions & Devices Owned

How interested, if at all, would you be in using each of the following services on a smartphone or a tablet if it were available? Even if you don't currently own or use a smartphone or tablet, please let us know how interested you would be.

Base: U.S. Adults

 

Total

Chronic or Long Lasting Conditions

Devices Owned

High blood pressure

Heart disease

Diabetes

Obesity

SP/Tab (NET)

Smart-phone

Tablet

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Checking my blood pressure

48

60

56

49

59

51

53

53

Checking my heart and my heartbeat for any irregularities

47

53

63

48

63

52

53

53

Using an application that tracks my physical activity (e.g., steps, sleep)

43

38

36

33

51

48

50

51

General blood testing services (e.g., cholesterol, kidney function)

41

48

56

47

47

45

46

47

Photographing my eye, cornea or retina to diagnose an eye problem

40

41

49

38

49

44

45

45

Checking my blood sugar or glucose level

39

45

56

57

50

42

43

44

Measuring my lung function

38

41

50

38

45

42

44

42

Using an application that tracks my diet

36

33

44

32

47

42

44

44

Urine test/Urinalysis

26

30

37

29

36

28

29

31

Stool sample test

19

20

27

19

24

20

20

22

TABLE 2

DIAGNOSED CHRONIC OR LONG-LASTING CONDITIONS

Have you ever been diagnosed with any of the following chronic or long-lasting conditions by a physician or other health care provider? Please select all that apply.

Base: U.S. Adults

Total

%

Any (NET)

67

High blood pressure/Hypertension

28

High cholesterol

26

Seasonal allergies

23

Depression

17

Osteoarthritis (commonly referred to as arthritis)

13

Diabetes

11

Obesity

10

Cancer

7

Heart disease

5

Multiple sclerosis

1

I have been diagnosed with another chronic or long-lasting condition that is not listed

19

None

32

Decline to answer

1

 

Methodology

This Harris Poll was conducted online, in English, within the United States between August 13 and 18, 2014 among 2,537 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, The Harris Poll avoids the words margin of error as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Poll surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in our panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of The Harris Poll.

Product and brand names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.

The Harris Poll® #102, November 13, 2014

By Larry Shannon-Missal, Managing Editor, The Harris Poll

About The Harris Poll®

Begun in 1963, The Harris Poll is one of the longest running surveys measuring public opinion in the U.S. and is highly regarded throughout the world. The nationally representative polls, conducted primarily online, measure the knowledge, opinions, behaviors and motivations of the general public. New and trended polls on a wide variety of subjects including politics, the economy, healthcare, foreign affairs, science and technology, sports and entertainment, and lifestyles are published weekly. For more information, or to see other recent polls, visit the Harris Poll News Room.

Rate This Article: