Digital Health Habits in the UK: a Quin nationwide survey

26% of UK public would rather use Health Apps than visit a GP or hospital.

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We asked the UK public about health apps. Here’s what they said.

You probably won’t be surprised to hear that we’re pretty excited about the potential of health-tech apps here at Quin. To coincide with the launch of our app on the UK and Ireland App Store, we decided to see if the general public shares our optimism.

We asked almost 2,500 people across the UK some questions about the health apps they use, how they think they could shape the future of medicine, and how the coronavirus has shaped their opinion. Here’s what they said. 

 

Perceptions of health apps and the effect of Covid-19

Overall, the public was pretty positive about health apps. This was no surprise to us as we’re very positive about them too, but it was interesting to see how the response and role towards health apps has changed since the outbreak of Covid-19.  Of those surveyed, just over a quarter (26 percent) of the UK public would rather use a health app than visit a GP or hospital, and usage of health apps has increased by 37 percent, since the pandemic began. The data also reveals that 55 percent would trust a diagnosis provided by an app, and a quarter of those say they are more trusting of apps since the outbreak.

 

 

The additional precautions demanded by the coronavirus and limited hospital space are causing significant delays in non-urgent healthcare. Wait times for follow-up appointments are out of control, and in the interim, unaddressed conditions can become more urgent. While there’s no substitute for a GP or hospital visit, remote and automated tools, such as health apps, could play a role in alleviating this stress on the system and provide users with an immediate response to their health concerns. 

Do health apps have a role to play in the future of medicine? Respondents to our survey certainly think so, with 78 percent agreeing that introducing apps into healthcare could alleviate many common challenges. Even more, 87 percent, agree that health-tech apps give individuals greater freedom and independence to better manage their lifestyle and wellness.

What do people with type 1 diabetes think?

In our sample, as in any large group, there were some respondents with type 1 diabetes, so we took the opportunity to ask them a few additional questions. Nearly half of them, 46 percent, reported that they regularly needed to adjust their insulin doses because medical guidelines didn’t match their lived reality, and 17 percent are not confident with the insulin doses they inject. 

Two-thirds of respondents to our survey said that they see their doctor three times a year or fewer. Fortunately, 75 percent of people with type 1 diabetes agree that health-tech apps give individuals greater freedom and independence to manage their lifestyle and wellbeing. Seven in ten feel that introducing health-tech apps into healthcare could alleviate many of the challenges faced by the industry, and people with diabetes are more than twice as likely to currently use a health-tech app to monitor their health.

A report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Diabetes in 2018 found that 42 percent of people with type 1 diabetes experience elevated distress, which can have long-term health implications. Our research builds upon this finding, identifying that 55 percent of respondents with type 1 diabetes experience anxiety and stress, 46 percent experience depression and 50 percent experience increased fatigue.

 

Man using phone

 

 

What does this all mean?

While public opinion is positive, just 11 percent of respondents told us that they had never used a health app to monitor a health condition (excluding fitness apps and diet-monitoring apps). This clearly suggests that the industry needs to put more focus and money into making health-tech apps that people want and need to manage their daily lifestyles and health conditions.

 

There is a receptive audience out there, especially as the pandemic has emphasised the importance of remote options and technology, we just need to provide them with the right tools.

If app makers are successful, people can better manage their lifestyles, and hopefully require fewer GP and hospital visits, and experience a better quality of life. People with type 1 diabetes are not being provided sufficiently personal guidance on how to manage their insulin-dosing on a daily basis. They are left alone to manage the staggering number of daily lifestyle decisions that come from living with diabetes, and this can cause difficulties with mental health.

 

 

What can we do? 

We’re doing our best to make a health app that helps people and that people want to use, and we’ve recently made it available to people in the UK and Ireland for free. If you have type 1 diabetes, Quin can help by providing personalised insulin-dosing guidance based on your diet, active insulin and CGM data, and in future your sleep, exercise and much more.

 

To download Quin and try it out for yourself, click here.

 

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