Digital Health

Consumer Adoption of Digital Health in 2022

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The latest report from Rock Health and the Stanford Center for Digital Health showed that not even the end of the public health emergency or a looming recession could put a dent in the adoption of new health tech. All eyes are now on consumers’ wavering trust in the healthcare system to see if it’ll end the party early.

The headline stat from the 8,014 person survey was that 80% of consumers have now accessed care via telemedicine, with the largest surge in adoption coming from historically underserved groups. 

  • For the first time ever, telemedicine was also the preferred channel for prescription refills and minor illnesses, which could have major implications for virtual refill programs like Amazon’s new $5/mo RxPass. [Care Preferences]
  • On top of that, audio-only and asynchronous telemedicine beat out point-to-point video chats as the most used modalities, and Rock Health expects typical care journeys to start including multiple modalities to leverage the strengths of each.

The second pillar of the report was that 46% of consumers now own a wearable device, a steady continuation upward from 2021 (45%) and 2020 (43%). The vast majority of those owners purchased the device themselves (85%), signaling that there’s still a ton of work to be done integrating wearables into clinical pathways for chronic condition management.  

  • 74% of younger respondents with higher income and higher education reported owning a wearable (down from 80% in 2020), while only 21% of older, lower income, and lower education respondents owned one (up from 17% in 2020). [Wearable Ownership]
  • Those adoption stats are par for the course with any new tech and seem to be a healthy sign that wearables are continuing their shift along the technology adoption curve – from early adoption to majority acceptance. 

The final highlight was an overview of consumers’ trust – or lack thereof – in the healthcare system. “Health data sharing only moves at the speed of trust, and right now it’s slow-going.”

  • Consumers have grown far less willing to share health data since the start of the pandemic, with only a slim portion willing to share with research orgs (20%, 15pp decrease), tech companies (7%, 4pp decrease), and the government (8%, 4pp decrease). That’s a pretty steep drop off. [Willingness to Share Health Data]
  • Not a single one of the 10 healthcare stakeholders in the survey was spared from the decline in trust, although doctors’ 70% trust rating still led the pack by a wide margin (family ranked 2nd with 51%).
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