The Mobile Health 2012 report was conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life project by Susannah Fox and Maeve Duggan. Pew Internet & American Life Project is a nonprofit organization that provides facts and information on issues and trends that are shaping America and the world.
In Mobile Health 2012, Fox and Duggan analyze how smartphones are used for health information. They surveyed 3,014 adults living in the U.S. through telephone interviews. Data was collected from August 7 to September 6, 2012.
They found that 85% of U.S. adults own a cell phone, and 53% of them own smartphones. Of these 85% cell phone users, about a third (31%) use their phones to search for health information, compared to only 17% in 2010. The following table compares different groups of people that access health information from their phones.
Cell phone owners who are Latino, African American, aged 18-49, or hold a college degree are the most likely to use their phones to access health information.
While accessing health information is gaining popularity, text messaging hasn’t impacted the health market yet. Only 9% of the 80% that send and receive text messages receive health or medical related text messages.
Another finding of this study is that one in five smartphone users have health apps on their phones. The following table breaks down the demographic of health app users.
Those more likely to own health apps include women, people under 50, people with higher education, and people with higher annual household income. Exercise, diet, and weight apps are the most popular health apps used, along with WebMD, menstrual cycle, pregnancy tracking, and others.
Mobile health is becoming more and more popular among smartphone users, particular among young adults, minorities, and those who particularly require health information. With the growing number of smartphone and cell phone users, as well as access to health information on phones, popularity of mobile health is expected to increase in upcoming year.