What our Panel said... February 2019

This month, we asked the Consumer Health Panel for their views on health monitoring tools such as websites, 'apps' and wearable devices.

When we asked our Panel whether they had ever used a health monitoring tool, the responses were split almost 50/50 between ‘Yes’ and ‘No’.

Of those who had used a health monitoring tool, almost half (48%) had used a fitness watch or wearable activity tracker, followed by a pedometer (36%) or health / wellbeing app (36%).

Some people also commented that they had used a heart monitoring device or blood pressure tracker.

Feb survey word cloud

Above: Our Panel was asked about the types of health monitoring devices they have used.

When asked whether the tool was useful, 44% of people indicated that it was ‘somewhat useful’. Some comments about individual experiences with various tools included: 

  • “prompts me to get up and walk”
  • “little or no information on how accurate or precise the instrument is nor how it is calibrated”
  • “[shows] heart activity over the period of the class or physical activity…provides a fun motivation to just push a little more.”

More than three-quarters of people (77%) indicated that they would use a health monitoring tool recommended by a doctor, and 57% would trust one if it’s been validated by a health authority.

Some additional comments about trust and the use of health monitoring tools included:

  • “trust is a big issue. What is the data being used for? Where is it going?”
  • “I trust my GP”
  • “[I would trust] data security and comms specialists.”

Interestingly, 70% of people have never been recommended a health monitoring tool as part of their health care plan.

Of those who had been recommended a health monitoring tool, the most common tools were heart and blood pressure monitors, pedometers or activity trackers.

When asked whether people might consider using a health monitoring tool, 2 in 5 said it would ‘depend on the health condition’ (see graph below).

It’s interesting to see that no-one said ‘No’ – indicating that most people are open to the idea of using health monitoring tools as part of a broader health care plan.

 Feb survey pie chart

Above: Our Panel was asked if they would use a health monitoring tool as part of a broader health care plan.

Confidence levels around the use of health monitoring tools appear high. 1 in 4 Panel participants would be ‘very confident’ in using a tool to manage a chronic condition. 

Further, just over half of people (54%) indicated that they would be ‘somewhat confident’ in using a tool to manage a chronic condition.

Some insightful comments about health monitoring tools were: 

  • “even though I am well versed with research on the topic, I would never trust only a health monitoring tool to manage my health. I see a medical practitioner regularly for check-ups”
  • “if it was recommended by a qualified health professional then there is a high chance that it has gone through stringent Government testing”
  • “these monitoring devices seem to provide some sense of self-efficacy and enable the user to have a bit more confidence and be in charge of daily life and routines.”

Thank you to Consumer Health Panel participants for sharing your views on health monitoring tools. We thought you might also like to know about a different type of monitoring tool available – see information below.

Free digital mental health coach

If you're experiencing worries, stress or low mood, you might benefit from Clevertar, a digital mental health coach available for free through COORDINARE.

How to get started…

  1. use your smartphone or tablet to download the app by searching for ‘Clevertar’ in the Apple store or Google Play
  2. open the app and tap ‘Create Account’
  3. enter the invitation code happier
  4. complete the registration details and get started with your coach!
Other opportunities!

Health Consumers NSW is working in partnership with the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care to hold a consultation with health consumers on the draft 2nd edition of the Australian Charter of Health Care Rights.

They are looking for 10-15 people who are available for a consultation on the afternoon of Friday 15 March in the Sydney CBD (venue to be confirmed). Register your interest to attend by 5pm on Monday 18 February 2019 by clicking here


Please note: COORDINARE is not a clinical health service and cannot advise individuals about their health care. Always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified health provider regarding any questions or concerns you may have about a particular medical condition.