For more than a year now the Pew Research Centers's Internet & American Life Project has been tracking the adoption of health apps by adults in the US. In September 2010 Pew found that about 9 percent of all adult mobile phone users in the US had downloaded an app that "helped them track or manage their health." In its most recent survey in August 2011 Pew found that about 11 percent of all adult cell phone users having downloaded an app that helps them manage their health. While that is a slight increase over last year's number, Pew characterized it as "a statistically insignificant difference." App adoption, therefore, has been largely stagnant over the past 12 months.
Pew writes that "health apps" include those that capture "a wide range of software applications, from those that count calories and help manage an exercise routine, to more advanced apps that monitor vital signs and help individuals manage serious health conditions."
The survey conducted this past August, however, was conducted a bit differently: "In August 2011, the question was asked of adults who have downloaded an app to a cell phone or tablet computer, rather than all cell phone users. More than a quarter of this population (29 percent) report downloading a health app. Looking just at adults who download apps to a cell phone, this translates to 11 percent of all adult cell phone users having downloaded an app that helps them manage their health, a statistically insignificant difference from the 9 percent of adult cell users who reported having a mobile health app in September 2010," Pew writes.
Pew also found that the new survey results show little change among health app adoption rates among different racial/ethnic groups.
Be sure to check out Pew's entire report, which focuses on overall cell phone and apps adoption -- not just for health. Full report freely available here.
If you'd like to learn more about health apps, be sure to register for MobiHealthNews' webinar: What Makes A Health App Effective? (Complimentary Registration Here)