Pew: 62% of Smartphone Users Look Up Health Information on Device

April 3, 2015 in News

More than 60% of U.S. residents with a smartphone used their device to search for health information, according to a new report by the Pew Research Center, MobiHealthNews reports.

Report Details

For the report, Pew relied on data from several recent surveys, including:

  • A December 2014 telephone survey of more than 2,000 individuals; and
  • An October 2014 Web and mail survey of more than 3,000 individuals.

The report aimed to determine the percentage of U.S. residents who own a smartphone and how they use such devices for various tasks, including looking up health care information.

Report Findings

Overall, the researchers found that 64% of U.S. adults own a smartphone, up from 58% in early 2014. According to the report, smartphone owners are most likely to be younger adults and have higher incomes and education levels (Dolan, MobiHealthNews, 4/2).

The researchers found that looking up health information was the most commonly reported use of a smartphone, with 62% of users saying they have searched for details on a health condition (Oran, MedCity News, 4/2). The percentage of smartphone owners who used their phones to look up health information within one year of the survey varied by age, according to the report. Specifically, the report found that:

  • 77% of smartphone users between ages 18 and 29 used their phones to look up health information;
  • 68% of smartphone users between ages 30 and 49 looked up health information; and
  • 39% of smartphone users age 50 and older looked up health information.

The percentages of smartphone users who looked up health information on their phones also varied by income, with:

  • 63% of smartphone users with household annual incomes less than $30,000 used their phones to look up health information; and
  • 59% of smartphone users with household annual incomes above $75,000 used their phones to look up health information (MobiHealthNews, 4/2).
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