A Pew report finds that people mostly research health questions offline. But a high number of people in their 20s access health information on their mobile devices.
from the Pew Internet & American Life Project and the California HealthCare
Foundation shows that Americans still go mostly offline for health resources,
but the numbers are higher for adults in their 20s.
has reported that 96 percent of people ages 18 to 29 have a cell phone.
the 18-29 age range, 15 percent of mobile phone users downloaded health apps to
29 percent of users in the 18-29 age range looked up health information on
their mobile device, compared with 18 percent in the 30-49 age range, 7 percent
in the 50-64 age range and 8 percent for 65 and older.
talking about a saturation point for people in their 20s," Susannah Fox,
Pew's associate director for digital strategy and author of the report, told
eWEEK. "For 29 percent of that population to be looking for health
information is a pretty interesting data point, because they are early adopters
in terms of all types of mobile applications."
the survey participants, 85 percent said they use a cell phone, and 17 percent
of mobile phone users research health or medical information online. Still, Fox
notes that people are cautious about relying on technology to manage their
members and friends are still where people turn most often for health
information and advice," she said. "If they're really sick, people
still want to see a doctor or a nurse."
use the Internet to obtain a second or third opinion, Fox said. "We're not
necessarily seeing a diminished interest in people using health professionals
for what they're good at, but people are supplementing that relationship with
more information from the Internet."
compared the evolution of mobile devices to the growth of the Internet in 2000.
"We knew that the media landscape was going to change, but we didn't know
how it was going to change," Fox said.
report also breaks down mobile health use by race and ethnicity, with 15
percent of African-American, 11 percent of Hispanic and 7 percent of white
mobile phone owners more likely to use mobile health apps.
25 percent of Hispanic mobile phone users researched health information,
compared with 19 percent for African-Americans and 15 percent for whites.
addition, urban mobile phone owners had a stronger likelihood than those users
in the suburbs or rural areas to have a mobile health app installed on their
handset, Pew reports.
urban users, 12 percent downloaded health apps; for suburban participants, 9
percent installed the mobile tools; and for rural users, 4 percent installed
mobile health apps.
report describes how people can use mobile phones to count calories and
nutrition information, keep track of workouts, stop smoking, research
medications, calculate body mass index, and determine disease risks.
can also store PHRs (personal health records) and transfer information to
caregivers, Pew reports.
more males (10 percent) than females (8 percent) had mobile health applications
installed on their phones.
were also higher for college-educated survey participants. Mobile app users
with some college education totaled 13 percent of respondents, and 9 percent of
college grads participating in the study downloaded the tools.
conducted its survey from Aug. 9 to Sept. 13 and interviewed 3,001 adults, of
which 2,485 were mobile phone users.