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Pew: Smartphone Owners Driving mHealth Usage

November 8, 2012
by Gabriel Perna
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According to Pew Internet Research, a project of the Washington D.C.-based non-profit organization Pew Research Center, one out of three (31 percent) cell phone owners have used their phone to look for health information. In the same survey two years ago, this number was only at 17 percent. Pew attributes this growth to the fact more people have bought smartphones over this two year period.

The survey of 3,014 America adults, 52 percent of smartphone owners gather health information on their phones, compared with 6 percent of non-smartphone owners. Additionally, 19 percent of smartphone owners have at least one health app on their phone. Exercise, diet, and weight apps are the most popular types.

Furthermore, the survey found cell phone owners who are Latino, African American, between the ages of 18-49, or hold a college degree, are more likely to gather health information on their phone. In addition, caregivers, those who recently faced a medical crisis, and those who experience a recent change in their physical health are more likely to look for health information on their phones.

In terms of text messages and updates, only nine percent of cell phone owners say they receive any text updates or alerts about health or medical issues. Women, those between the ages of 30 and 64, and smartphone owners are more likely than other cell phone owners to have signed up for health text alerts, Pew says.

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