Despite the proliferation of smartphone and tablet applications that monitor health, most U.S. adults who track their health are doing so without using modern technology, according to a report from the Pew Research Center, USA Today reports (Painter, USA Today, 1/28).
The report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project was based on telephone interviews with 3,014 U.S. adults. The interviews were conducted in English and Spanish during August and September 2012.
The California HealthCare Foundation provided support for the survey. CHCF publishes iHealthBeat (Fox/Duggan, Pew Research Center report, 1/28).
According to the report, 69% of survey respondents said that they are tracking their own health or that of a loved one. Of those who track health data:
- 49% of respondents said that they track the data "in their heads;"
- 34% said that they track the data on paper; and
- 21% said that they track the data using some form of technology (USA Today, 1/28).
Researchers also found that 19% of smartphone users -- or 7% of the total respondents -- said that they have downloaded a health-related app. Of the smartphone owners who have downloaded a health app:
- 38% said that they downloaded an app to track their exercise;
- 31% said that they downloaded an app to monitor their diet; and
- 12% said that they downloaded an app to manage their weight (AFP/Google News, 1/28).
Comments on Report
Susannah Fox -- lead author of the report and associate director of the Pew Internet & American Life Project -- said, "The explosion of mobile devices means that more Americans have an opportunity to start tracking health data in an organized way" (Freudenheim, New York Times, 1/27).
Considering the widespread availability of such tools, Fox said that the low consumer adoption rate for health monitoring apps and technology is "surprising."
She said, "We've been looking at health apps since 2010, and health app uptake has been essentially flat for three years." Although consumers have a "food court of options" for health apps, they are "losing their appetite" for such tools, Fox said (AFP/Google News, 1/28).