••• health care research

Docs say they’re going digital

As U.S. health care providers reorient their practices to meet outcomes-based incentives, many are looking to patient-facing digital tools to help them meet those goals, according to data from New York-based Manhattan Research’s Taking the Pulse U.S. 2014 study. More than a third of physicians said that they had been evaluated or rewarded based on metrics measuring cost of treatment, patient outcomes or referrals over the past year. At the same time, two in five physicians agreed that using digital technology to communicate with patients will improve patient outcomes and as many said that they have increased their use of digital tools to communicate with patients over the past year. (The study was fielded online among 3,066 U.S. practicing physicians in Q1 2014.)

Physicians are leveraging digital tools with patients: Forty-seven percent of physicians who are smartphone owners had shown patients images or videos on their devices and more than a third of physicians had recommended that patients use health apps in the past year.

Telemedicine and remote care use is small but growing: While video consults are still relatively rare, nearly one-quarter of physicians report that they or their teams have communicated with patients through a patient portal over the past year and more than one in five had done so using secure messaging platforms. More than one in five monitored patients remotely and those physicians monitored an average 22 patients per month.


••• shopper insights

No plans to ditch the dollar store

A study from VideoMining Corp., a State College, Pa., research firm, showed that roughly 90 percent of value/dollar store customers plan to continue shopping the channel even if their current economic situation improves.
This result, from the firm’s Value/Dollar Shopper Insights program, reflects increased loyalty in the channel, once thought of as a clearinghouse for unsold products but steadily becoming a critical retail battleground for manufacturers, one with its own shopper base. The study also revealed greater frequency among shoppers, as 54 percent indicated that they increased shopping in the channel over the past year, twice that of the next-highest channel. These findings are from a survey, conducted by VideoMining late last year, of 2,500 nationwide value and dollar shoppers on all aspects of their shopping trips.
The study also found that 80 percent of all value/dollar store shoppers said they planned their trips in advance. Despite the destination status of the channel, shoppers remain open-minded, as more than half (51 percent) made their final brand buying decisions in the store.