Consumers are taking healthcare into their own hands

The trend: Consumers are taking more health management activities into their own hands, sometimes supervised by physicians—but often not, per Kaufman Hall.

  • About 3,500 US adults were asked how often they performed seven specific health management activities. Only the “always” or “often” results were reported.

Digging into the data: The top three areas where consumers are managing their own health aren’t surprising.

  • Diet and nutrition topped the chart. 34% said they always or often ate healthy foods, saw a nutritionist, used a meal prep or delivery programs, or took daily supplements and vitamins.
  • 31% said they use fitness wearables or other devices to track their health.
  • And 29% said they exercise at home or a gym, or see a physical therapist.

But wait, there’s more! The top three activities are easy enough to do, so those results don’t yield new insight.

It’s the remaining categories that caught our interest:

  • Mental health: Seeing a mental health counselor or therapist was a regular health maintenance activity for 22%.
  • Self-care: Defined as using wellness or meditation mobile apps, and self-diagnosing health issues using websites like WebMD—18% said they did this always or often.
  • Using diagnostic tests at home: The pandemic boosted consumers’ appreciation for in-home test kits to detect COVID-19, which took their place alongside lab-quality test kits for genetics, fertility, and colon cancer. Now, 12% said they use these kits always or often.
  • Alternative therapies: Another 12% said they used therapies like acupuncture, massage, and cryotherapy, or saw a chiropractor.

The bigger picture: Now consumers are going beyond simple diet and exercise regimens to find ways to stay balanced and healthy.

  • Doctors are still the most trusted source of health information—but they’re not the only source.
  • Digital health companies can reach wider audiences with self-care and wellness therapies.
  • But their messages—and products—must create trust to gain consumer loyalty.

This article originally appeared in Insider Intelligence's Digital Health Briefing—a daily recap of top stories reshaping the healthcare industry. Subscribe to have more hard-hitting takeaways delivered to your inbox daily.