Pew Research Releases 2012 Mobile Health Report

Half of Smartphone Owners Use Phones to Search for Health Information

The Pew Internet & American Life Project is one of seven projects comprising the Pew Research Center, nonprofit “fact tank” providing information on trends that shape our life. The Project makes available its research and reports on a broad range of topics including healthcare.

Yesterday the Project released its Mobile Health 2012 report. The research from the report shows an increase of use of cell phones, and particularly smartphones, by U.S. adults to monitor or manage their health.

Key findings from the research include:

  • 31% of all cell phone owners say they use their phone to look for health or medical information online. That is up from 17% of cell phone owners in September 2010.
  • Smartphone owners lead this activity: 52% have used their phone to search for health information, compared with 6% of other cell phone owners. The increase in smartphone ownership since 2010 has had an effect on this trend.
  • Mobile health information appeals to certain groups of health consumer including caregivers and those who have experienced a medical crisis or significant change in their physical health.
  •  While text messaging is a nearly universal activity it has not yet had a significant impact on the health market.
The research also shows that one in 5 smartphone owners has a health app:
  • 38% of the apps are used to track exercise, fitness, heart monitoring
  • 31% of the apps are diet/calorie counters
  • 5% of the apps track blood pressure
  • 2% of the apps manage medication
About the Survey

The results reported come from a nationwide survey of 3,014 adults living in the U.S. The survey was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International from August 7 to September 6, 2012.  The margin of sampling error for the complete set of weighted data is ±2.4 percentage points.

 You can view or download the complete report on the Pew Research site.