Half of smartphone users embracing mHealth, study finds

Mobile health is poised for a promising future, according to a recent Pew Research report, which finds that more than half of all smartphone owners currently use their devices to view health information.

Conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, the study also underscores the stark contrast between smartphone users and non-smartphone users with regard to accessing health information.

With an estimated 85 percent of U.S. adults owning cell phones, findings show that some 52 percent of smartphone users search for health information on their phones, in comparison to just 6 percent of non-smartphone users.  

[See also: As more consumers connect, mHealth market soars.]

Moreover, officials say approximately one-fifth of smartphone owners surveyed have downloaded a health application. Among the most popular are weight, exercise and diet apps.

Other survey findings include:

  • Women between the ages of 30 and 64 are more likely to sign up for health text alerts.
  • Cell phone owners with a college degree, or between the ages of 18 and 49, are more likely to gather health information on their device.

A September Cybercitizen Health and Manhattan Research mobile health further complements the findings of the November Pew report, finding that some 75 million adults in the U.S. use mobile phones for health information – up from 61 million in 2011.

[See also: mHealth app takes on nation's leading cause of death.]

"Growing ownership of connected devices and the access to digital health tools and information they provide is helping to drive the broader shift from intermittent to continuous care," said Monique Levy, vice president of research at Manhattan Research. "This trend shows vast potential for changing key dynamics of healthcare delivery, including patient engagement, provider involvement, and how preventive care is incentivized."