New Survey Highlights Urgent Need for Improved Hypochondria Management; Technology is an Under Appreciated Solution

June 11, 2024


(PHILADELPHIA, PA – June 11, 2024) – New research from New Ocean Health and QuestDIY powered by Harris Poll reveals that 75% of Americans recognize hypochondria – or illness anxiety disorder (IAD) – as a genuine mental health disorder. IAD is also reported to have impacted many Americans, with 12% of respondents having either self-diagnosed or received the diagnosis from a doctor, and another 45% know someone who falls into one of those two categories.

Worse, health anxiety has continued to increase since the pandemic. Since the onset of the pandemic, nearly half (49%) of respondents report increased health anxieties, particularly among young adults. 58% also acknowledge that hypochondria contributes to unnecessary medical appointments and increased healthcare costs. However, the staggering cost burden on the healthcare system has been documented since 2005 when Dr. Arthur Barsky of Harvard Medical School found that up to 16% of national healthcare spending could be attributed to health anxiety.

“The data underscores the significance of illness anxiety disorder among the U.S. population and the burden it has placed on both individuals and the healthcare system alike,” New Ocean Health CEO Hal Rosenbluth said. “Though under-discussed, hypochondria could be categorized as a symptom of some of our health system’s worst tendencies, including unnecessary testing and doctor visits and over prescribing. More needs to be done to address this issue.”

Respondents identified three key strategies for managing hypochondria more effectively. These include:

  • Increased Access to Mental Health Services: 54% of respondents support greater availability of mental health services for early intervention and ongoing support.
  • Promotion of Self-Help Strategies: 50% advocate for self-help strategies to empower individuals in managing their symptoms.
  • Improved Training for Healthcare Professionals: 49% emphasize the need for better education for healthcare providers to recognize and manage hypochondria.
  • Respondents of the survey ages 18-44 were more likely (71%) than those 45+ (40%) to choose technology as a viable option for addressing hypochondria. Overall, people were skeptical about how technology could help people suffering from hypochondria. Only 18% said that using advanced imaging technology to give comprehensive health assessments, such as AI-powered full-body scans, could improve outcomes.

“Despite the data showing clear skepticism around technology as a solution for IAD, I firmly believe technological innovation and intervention must be part of the solution,” Rosenbluth explained. “We need to increase investment and exploration in emerging technology and make a concerted effort to bring more technological access to a broader swath of the population at a reduced cost.

About New Ocean Health Solutions
New Ocean Health Solutions is a software design and development company that empowers organizations to foster a healthy culture. We deliver on the need for a broad enterprise health management platform that includes health and well-being programs people value. By using behavioral economics principles, New Ocean’s programs are more adaptable to human nature and more likely to get users to engage over the long-term. New Ocean’s platform leverages research-based methodologies to encourage users to make good choices and form healthy habits when it comes to their health, while ensuring that realistic goals are set. Led by former Walgreens Health & Wellness President and retail health clinic pioneer, Hal Rosenbluth. 


The research was conducted as an online pulse survey powered by Harris QuestDIY on behalf of New Ocean Health Solutions. The survey was fielded in the United States on May 8, 2024, among 1,000 U.S. adults 18+ with a near equal split in male and female (487 identified as male, 513 as female).