Mobile mania: Smartphone users dialing up health info

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Mobile mania: Smartphone users dialing up health info
Mobile mania: Smartphone users dialing up health info
Another day, another batch of survey data showing that smartphones have become the proverbial tail wagging the dog in medical media.

A Kantar Media survey found that among those cell phone customers using their devices to go online, a quarter, or around 19.3 million, are going online for health-related information.

The survey of 20,000 found that while four-fifths of Americans own a cell or smartphone, two-thirds of adults use their phones to surf the Web, access e-mail, download content, send photos or update social networking sites, while the remaining third uses their phones only for texting or calls.

The average age of those searching for health info on their phones is 33 – considerably younger than the average age of the entire adult population (46). They are just as likely to access the Internet through their phones as through laptops or desktop computers.

They're comfortable registering on disease-specific websites, said Kantar, and they find online healthcare advertising credible. After being exposed to an ad, they tend to visit specific websites or conduct online research, and they are likely to call toll-free numbers or return free sample cards. 

“With the number of mobile units by some accounts exceeding those of computers, these devices are becoming the primary entry point for Internet access,” said Jayne Krahn, VP of consumer health and custom research at Kantar.

Meanwhile, Manhattan Research reports that three-quarters of U.S. physicians now own an Apple device — iPhone, iPad or iPod — while 81% own some sort of smartphone. Thirty percent of doctors own an iPad and 28% told Manhattan Research they plan to get one within the next six months. Many said they want to use it in clinical practice and for accessing electronic medical records. Experts say that iPad accessibility could be a deciding factor when practices look for EMR providers.

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