Majority of U.S. Smartphone Owners Using Phones to Manage Health

Americans increasingly use their mobile devices for health management, according to a study released last week by Ketchum, a global communications firm. The Ketchum mHealth Monitor maps U.S. consumers’ adoption of wearable technology, apps, and artificial intelligence (A.I.) for personal health and wellness. The firm surveyed 2,000 U.S. smartphone owners in April.

Among the findings: One in four smartphone owners have emailed or texted a photo of a medical issue to a doctor. Nearly 60 percent have shared information with a medical professional via the Internet on their smartphone, mobile app, or wearable device. And almost half have a fitness, health, or medication-tracking app.

This study points to a shift in people’s attitudes and readiness to use technology to manage their health,” said Lisa Sullivan, executive vice president and North American technology practice leader for Ketchum. “With U.S. smartphone adoption at 68 percent, now is the time for businesses that have a stake in the healthcare industry to push to develop approachable, intuitive mobile tech offerings that help the ever-increasing mobile user population improve something as personal and important as their health.”

Smartphone owners appear open to using Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) apps to help manage their health, but unconvinced that such apps are an adequate substitute for a human healthcare provider. Nearly a third said they are likely to use an A.I. search tool or A.I. health tracker, but only a small minority would use an A.I. medical advisor (18 percent) or an artificially intelligent therapist (9 percent).

Similarly, while most survey respondents have used technology to interact with a medical professional, 63 percent still prefer face-to-face interaction with their healthcare providers.

Nearly a quarter of those surveyed said health and fitness tracking apps have made them feel bad, and 21 percent have stopped using certain apps.

Click here to read more about the Ketchum survey.


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