SAN FRANCISCO – A large number of smartphone owners use their devices to manage their health, according to a recent study by Ketchum mHealth Monitor.
The study showed that nearly six out of 10 smartphone owners have shared information with a medical professional from their smartphone, mobile app or wearable device, and one out of four have emailed or texted a photo of a medical issue to a doctor.
“The results were quite positive and encouraging,” said Lisa Sullivan, executive vice president and North American technology practice leader for Ketchum. “It showed a sense of control and of people embracing what technology can provide in taking control of your health.”
The online survey was conducted with 2,000 Americans who own a smartphone.
Americans are also engaging with smartphone apps for health management in large numbers, as 47% of survey participants said they have an app on their phone that tracks workouts, health or medicine.
While only two out of five respondents said they are comfortable using artificial intelligence like Apple’s Siri, the fact that they understand the technology came as a surprise, said Sullivan. A small percentage of respondents said they would use an AI therapist, but a larger percentage (32%) said they are likely to use an AI search tool.
The study identified five types of users, categorized by current attitudes toward mHealth, health behaviors and overall mobile/technology adoption: so-called “super users” who love being constantly connected; seekers who are confident about managing their health and want to expand their use of smartphone beyond making calls; and smartphone traditionalists who don’t see mHealth having a positive impact on their lives.
By categorizing users in this way, Ketchum hoped to identify opportunities to make it easier and more convenient for people to manage their health and wellness through mobile devices, said Valerie Delva, director of health strategy for Ketchum.
The greater message from the study is that users want education and awareness around mHealth technology, Delva said.
“They want to understand how they can use this technology to take control of their own health,” she said. “They are not just seeking information online, they want to be more proactive.”