Mobile technologies are transforming many aspects of our daily lives. Why not our health as well. Let’s face it we can’t leave home without our mobiles and we have them with us 24 hours a day. What a better tool to use for tracking, monitoring and keeping us updated on our health. Actually Mobile technologies are not just about our mobile phones anymore. The same mobile technologies, GPS and Apps are empowering new digital capabilities in our cars, houses and devices of all sorts that surround us. Since many of us live “Digital Lives” it is not a stretch to see that digital has impacted us both positively and negatively in our lifestyle choices. I encourage you to take advantage of digital to develop healthy habits and inform yourself about your health and the health of your loved ones.
New Mobile Research
The Pew Internet & American Life Project’s latest survey of American adults, conducted in association with the California HealthCare Foundation, finds that 85% of adults use a cell phone. Of cell phone owners:
- 17% have used their phone to look up health or medical information and 29% of cell owners ages 18-29 have done such searches.
- 9% have software applications or “apps” on their phones that help them track or manage their health. Some 15% of those ages 18-29 have such apps.
This means that health-information searches and communications have joined the growing array of non-voice data applications that are being bundled into cell phones. Fully 76% of cell phone owners (ages 18 and older) use their phones to take pictures, for example, up from 66% in April 2009. Seven-in-ten cell phone owners send or receive text messages; four-in-ten access the internet on their phones. In addition, 35% of U.S. adults have software applications or “apps” on their phones (but only one-in-four adults actually use them).
Even with the proliferation of mobile and online opportunities, however, most adults’ search for health information remains anchored in the offline world. Most people turn to a health professional, friend or family member when they have a health question; the internet plays a growing but stillsupplemental role — and mobile connectivity has not changed that.
Mobile Health Apps
There are apps for counting calories and nutrition information; apps for logging fitness workouts; apps to monitor vital signs; apps providing health tips; apps to calculate disease risks; apps to calculate body mass index; apps for keeping personal health records and for providing users’ health information to physicians and emergency workers; apps to learn about medicines; apps for smoking cessation; and apps for yoga stretching exercises people can perform at their desks at work.
Cell phone users between ages 18 to 29 are more likely than older cell owners to use mobile health apps: 15% do so, compared with 8% of cell users ages 30 to 49, for example. African American cell phone owners are more likely than other groups to use such apps: 15% do so, compared with 7% of white and 11% of Latino cell phone users. Urban cell phone owners are more likely than those who live in suburban or rural areas to have a mobile health app on their phone. There are no significant differences between men and women, nor among income groups.
Post: Warren Raisch February 2012