COVID-19 Quarterly Digital Health Trends
Over the past three months, there has been an explosion in digital health adoption as people look for remote ways to manage their health and wellbeing. National Government COVID-19 strategies, local authorities and consumers, have all turned to health apps, both as a potential means of slowing the spread of the virus, and a method of allowing people to self-manage their own health.
Our App Libraries are used by services serving a population of 20 million, thereby acting as a barometer for how the UK is engaging with digital health.
This week, we share our data insights from the first quarter on since COVID-19 came to the UK.1 How fast have digital health adoption rates escalated? What are the most popular searches? And which health and care apps have been downloaded the most?
Most popular app searches and downloads
More consumers have been using health and care apps. In just one week, we saw an increase of 182.5% in app downloads from our App Libraries, and a 6,500% increase in app recommendations from health and care professionals. But what condition areas are people searching for on app libraries?
We can see from the data across our App Libraries that the most popular search terms over the past quarter, in addition to ‘COVID’, have included: mental health, physiotherapy, MSK, fitness, anxiety, activity, neurology, rehabilitation, diabetes, respiratory, and sleep.
Whereas 'COVID' was initially the most searched term at the beginning of the outbreak, people are now searching for specific condition areas. This indicates a shift in focus to actively self-managing health and wellbeing, as well as a desire for knowledge about particular health areas.
Our word cloud below provides a visualisation of the most popular searches over the past three months:
The below list gives an insight into the top five most downloaded apps across our App Libraries over the past three months:
- Wysa is an emotionally intelligent chatbot which employs research-backed, widely used techniques such as CBT, DBT, yoga and meditation, to support users with stress, anxiety, sleep, loss and a whole range of other mental health and wellness needs.
- my mhealth is the leading supplier of self-management and rehabilitation apps and platforms in the UK for patients with COPD, Asthma, Diabetes and Heart Disease. These patient apps interact with a condition specific clinical interface, enabling efficient, population level remote models of care.
- Musculoskeletal (MSK) Self-Care offers support and guidance on how to manage a Musculoskeletal (MSK) condition or injury. This can relate to any injury, disease or problem with muscles, bones or joints. The app's clinical guidance and exercise videos can be of benefit to anyone with an MSK condition/injury.
- Sidekick is a social health game designed to motivate and engage people towards a healthy lifestyle. The app allows people to communicate and collaborate with friends and colleagues in various categories such as nutrition, physical activity and mental exercises.
- GPEP Physiotherapy Exercises has been designed with the help of NHS GPs and physiotherapists with the aim of bringing users access to self-help advice from professionals, enabling users with back, muscle and joint conditions to start their recovery early.
1British Foreign Policy Group: COVID-19 Timeline