BBK report: Design, content are key to health app usage

By Melissa Fassbender contact

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: Getty/oatawa)
(Image: Getty/oatawa)

Related tags: BBK

Many patients use an app to manage their health – good news for the clinical trials industry, which is continually looking for new ways in which to engage and support patients.

BBK Worldwide (BBK) recently released results from its Study Voices survey, which examined the use of health apps. The patient portion was conducted as part of BBK's partnership with Health Union.

The main takeaways from the report are that functionality drives interest – and features and content drive usage, said Aaron Fleishman, director of market development at BBK Worldwide​.

“While the features are important, without an engaging app – driven by design and content – there is no reason for the consumer to come back and continue to use the app,”​ he told us.

As for what this means for the industry, Fleishman said the implications are quite positive: “There is a correlation between what app users want and what we ask patients to use during a clinical trial. Patients rated the ability to manage appointments, follow a treatment plan, and ability to send data and information to doctors.”

Still, Fleishman noted, not all patients like to use an app to manage their health.

Of the more than 200 patients surveyed, only 44% reported that they do not use apps to manage their health, which was a surprising finding. “We would have thought this would have been much lower,”​ he said. Additionally, the survey found no correlation between non-app users and their age. For example, 30% of 25-44 year-olds, 33% ages 45-64, and 37% over 65.

“So, only relying on an app for engaging patients to aid with compliance or general study participation doesn’t fit the narrative of what the data is showing us,”​ Fleishman added.

For this reason, study sponsors need to consider multiple options for study participation. “All are still important,”​ Fleishman said, noting that having options to engage patients leads to a higher level of participation.

Respondents who reported using apps to manage their health mainly (35%) use general health apps, such as Apple Health, Google Fit, or Samsung Health; 21% use medication management apps; 16% use personal diary or journal apps; and 28% use other trackers for fitness, nutrition, and diet.

Related topics: Clinical Development

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