What Benefits Do Health Apps Provide for Family Medicine? A Survey among Family Practitioners in Hesse and Thuringia

Eine Befragung unter hessischen und thüringischen Allgemeinmedizinern

german translation / full article

Julian Wangler, Michael Jansky

Keywords: family medicine; family practitioner health apps health communication

Background: Studies show that the use of health apps in the population is continuously increasing. So far, there are virtually no studies that examine how family practitioners assess health apps, how they judge their potentials and which experiences they have made in caring for patients who use apps.Methods: In the course of a survey (October 2017 – November 2017), 221 family practitioners in Hesse and Thuringia were interviewed. Recruitment was based on the principle of stratified random selection. Due to the explorative approach of the study, only a descriptive analysis was performed.Results: Among family practitioners, there are controversial views in what way health apps could offer added value for patient care and where their potential uses lie. A proportion of the respondents is reserved regarding such applications, especially with respect to aspects such as practicability and reliability. Another part of the doctors surveyed feels confident about the potential uses of health apps, for example when it comes to strengthening the motivation and education of patients. For patients using health apps, a majority of the respondents see positive contributions to health care and/or recovery.Conclusions: The results show that many family practitioners are open-minded about health apps and see benefits for patient care. However, from their point of view, there are reservations and uncertainties regarding the comprehensibility, transparency, and security of apps – issues which are linked to framework conditions. These concerns should be addressed in more detail by both app manufacturers and legislature to create the right conditions for successfully integrating health apps into patient care.

(State: 28.06.2018)

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