-- Ruder Finn integrates core expertise in Healthcare and Technology to create a new Health IT specialty offering
-- Releases report on U.S. consumers use of mobile devices to manage their health

Ruder Finn, Inc., a leading independent global communications agency, today announced the launch of a new worldwide Health IT specialty offering. Combining the agency's deep understanding and widespread experience in the healthcare and technology markets, the aim of this new offering will be to help clients leverage emerging technologies to improve care and meaningfully engage with stakeholders.

"Healthcare companies are seeking to improve communications, data sharing and patient engagement to achieve improved outcomes," said Kathy Bloomgarden, CEO, Ruder Finn. "As the use of emerging technologies increases, particularly smart phones, it is more important than ever for healthcare providers and health IT vendors to reach patients beyond the point of care to drive engagement and ultimately ensure optimal health." Ruder Finn has significant experience in the health technology industry, across both business to business and consumer communications, and in key areas such as clinical decision support, healthcare delivery systems, patient relationship management, consumer health apps and mobile health. The new Health IT offering, which will include Ruder Finn U.K.'s Health Technology division, will be spearheaded in the U.S. by the director of Ruder Finn's Technology & Innovation practice, Jen Long, with regional leads in Ruder Finn U.K. and Ruder Finn Asia.

As part of this launch, Ruder Finn commissioned a survey with ORC International to gain insights on how U.S. consumers are using mobile devices to manage their health, as well as how technology platforms for healthcare services, specifically mobile apps, could be designed to better meet consumers' needs as users and patients moving forward.

The U.S. survey and corresponding report follow a similar initiative out of Ruder Finn U.K., while Ruder Finn Asia is set to release their own iteration later this year.

"The results of our survey indicate that mobile health is poised for exponential growth-currently only 16 percent of respondents use health apps, however that number is expected to triple in the next six months," said Jen Long, senior vice president and director of Technology & Innovation, Ruder Finn.  "Our survey aims to provide perspectives for health organizations on how the mobile health landscape is evolving and what features are critical to consumer adoption at this stage in the mobile health evolution." Additional findings include: Demographic Findings: -- Age: Consumers ages 35 - 44 are most likely to use mHealth apps, with 23 percent leveraging health apps.

-- Family status: 59 percent of households with children say they are likely to use mHealth technology over the next six months versus 42 percent of those without.

-- Chronic conditions: More than half of respondents who suffer from chronic conditions (53 percent) say they are likely to use mobile health technology.

Usage: -- Exponential growth: Despite current low use of mHealth apps among consumers, exponential growth is expected. Nearly half of respondents (48 percent) said they are likely to use mHealth technology within the next six months which is triple the reported current usage among respondents (16 percent).

-- Lifestyle link to better health: Among those saying they currently use a health app most relate to lifestyle rather disease management.

The top three apps reportedly used by respondents include healthy eating apps (49 percent), followed closely by fitness/training (48 percent) and calorie counter apps (48 percent).  There is an opportunity to increase use of apps for chronic disease management, as the current focus of the health app market is on lifestyle.

-- Data sharing and better link to professionals: Consumers expect health apps to serve as a supplement to traditional doctor's care, not replace it. According to respondents, the top three asks are for apps that provide access to test results (42 percent), monitoring devices that can alert caregivers, doctors and nurses if a patient has a health emergency (33 percent) and an app that provides access to patient health records from mobile devices (30 percent).

Ruder Finn, Inc. is one of the world's largest independent public relations agencies with dual headquarters in the U.S. and China. Founded in 1948, Ruder Finn serves the global and local communication needs of over 250 corporations, governments and non-profit organizations. The agency is organized around four strategic pillars that reflect its core areas of expertise: Health & Wellness, Corporate & Public Trust, Technology & Innovation, and Consumer Connections. Key offerings include corporate reputation and media counsel, executive thought leadership, financial communications, employee engagement and internal communications, and crisis and issues management. RFI Studios, the agency's full-service digital practice, leads the industry in designing and developing internal collaboration platforms, building conversations and communities around brands, and staying top-of-mind in the world of mobile apps. For more information, visit