As more consumers connect, mHealth market soars

The number of adults using mobile phones and tablets for health information has risen exponentially from last year, according to the findings of a new study conducted by Cybercitizen Health and Manhattan Research.

The healthcare market research study shows that while online health activities are still primarily desktop or laptop-based, mobile and tablet health activity adoption continues to accelerate, with the number of adults using mobile phones for health information pegged at 75 million in 2012, up from 61 million in 2011, and tablet health activity adoption doubling from 15 million to 29 million in the same time period.

[See also: Mobile health app market in growth mode.]

Other key findings on multiscreen health behaviors from U.S. 2012 study include:

  • Tablet health activities look promising among older consumers: While usage of tablets for health activities tends to be more popular among younger consumers, older consumers who own the device show promise in this area as well. Nearly half of online consumers aged 55 and older who own or use a tablet are using these devices for health information or tools.
  • Multiscreen health users move between devices: Among the 15 percent of online consumers who have three devices (tablets, smartphones and desktops/laptops) and use at least one of them for a health activity, 60 percent are using all three screens for online health information and tools.

"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."

[See also: Obama paves way for FDA's mobile app guidelines.]

The survey included the responses from 8,745 U.S. respondents and covered multiple consumer health and digital topics, including evolving health touch points such as pharmacists and retailers, social media, remote care and Internet reliance throughout the patient journey.