The Pew Internet Project’s latest survey of American adults points to the ongoing growth of cell phone use to track and manage health issues and to research health information.
• 17% of cell owners have used their phone to look up health or medical information and 29% of cell owners ages 18-29 have done such searches.
• 9% of cell owners 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.
Interestingly, more blacks (15%) and Hispanics (11%) have apps on their phones to help them track or manage their health than whites (7%). When it comes to using a cell phone to look up health information, Hispanics lead (25%), followed by blacks (19%) and whites (15%).
As smart phones are able to distribute even more information and as prices come down, these numbers will increase dramatically. Convenience will drive many healthcare choices, particularly in competitive markets. When someone is able to use her cell phone to research healthcare information, read positive patient comments about your hospital on your Facebook page, and discover helpful service information on your mobile-optimized website, you will have a real impact.
Now is the time to develop a smart phone marketing and social media strategy.