Fitness, wellness apps most popular among consumers

The most popular mobile health applications for consumers are fitness and wellness apps, according to a new survey of mobile engagement by New York-based communications agency Ruder Finn.

In the survey of more than 1,000 U.S. adults, 49 percent of respondents who used health apps said they used healthy eating apps, 48 percent used fitness training apps and calorie counter apps, while 46 percent used nutrition apps.

The survey found that 16 percent of smartphone and tablet users access health apps regularly. Nearly half (48 percent) of the respondents said that they are likely to use mHealth technology in the next six months, which the report says is three times more than current health app users.

For developers looking to build health apps, data from the Ruder Finn study suggests that there is very little difference in current mHealth usage preferences between smartphone and tablet users. Among U.S. smartphone users, Android is the leading operating system followed by Apple's iOS (45 percent and 33 percent respectively). Nevertheless, usage of mHealth apps is slightly higher among iPhone users when compared to Android users (22 percent vs. 16 percent).  

Of those who didn't use health apps, 27 percent said they didn't have any need to access health-related apps, 26 percent said they preferred to talk to a doctor in person about health issues, 11 percent were concerned about sharing information with an app, 9 percent didn't find apps helpful, and seven percent didn't know they were available.

"Looking at the differences between the genders, men are more likely than women to say that they do not have any need to access health related apps, 30 percent vs. 25 percent respectively," states the report.

In addition, those surveyed were also asked which mobile capabilities they most wanted to see their physicians use. Forty-two percent said they wanted their doctor to have an app to see their test results, 33 percent cited remote monitoring devices, and 30 percent wanted doctors to have access to patient health records via a mobile device.

According to a recent U.S. survey commissioned by Royal Philips Electronics, a quarter of Americans trust symptom checker websites, symptom check mobile apps or home-based vital sign monitors as much as they do their doctors. In addition, about an equal proportion (26 percent) often use these resources instead of going to the doctor.

To learn more:
- read the survey report