Mobile devices are now being used to access and manage personal health information, particularly among young adults, according to a new survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project and the California HealthCare Foundation, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.
CHCF publishes iHealthBeat.
The survey -- which polled 3,001 adults from August to September -- found that 17% of cell phone owners have looked up health or medical information on the Internet through their phones.
The survey found that 29% of cell phone owners ages 18 to 29 have used their phone to search for health or medical information.
According to the survey, 9% of all cell phone owners have cell phone applications designed to help users track or manage their health.
Fifteen percent of cell phone owners between ages 18 and 29 have health or medicine-related applications, which can range from workout and food trackers to personal health records. Eight percent of adults ages 30 to 49 have such apps.
The survey also found that:
- Blacks are more likely to use health-related apps than other racial groups, though there were no significant differences among men and women or income groups; and
- Urban cell phone owners are more likely to have health apps on their phones, compared with their suburban and rural counterparts (Spector, Cleveland Plain Dealer, 10/19).
Although a number of adults are turning to the Internet for health information, their searches "remai[n] anchored in the offline world" by turning to health care professionals and personal contacts for health questions, the study's authors said (Jerome, "Hillicon Valley," The Hill, 10/19).
Susannah Fox -- associate director at the Pew Internet & American Life Project -- said individuals continue to want contact with health care professionals when they have health issues, "and that's not going to budge" (Hobson, "Health Blog," Wall Street Journal, 10/19).