Most smartphone users tap into health features

More than half of today's smartphone users, 62 percent, are using their devices to get health information, according to Pew Research Center's new report, "U.S. Smartphone Use in 2015." The report is based on surveys conducted by the center in conjunction with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

The research data reveals that nearly two-thirds of Americans, 64 percent, are smartphone owners, and that many consider smartphones as their primary path to online activity. The ownership figure stood at 35 percent in 2011.

When it comes to who is using a smartphone for online health information, 77 percent are 18 to 29 years old; 60 percent are 30 to 49 years old; and 39 percent are over the age of 50.

How device owners view such tools is nearly an even split on a necessity versus a "nice to have but not critical" view. More than half of the survey's respondents, 54 percent, don't view smartphones as always needed, while 46 percent said they believe they could not live without the tools.

Text messaging is the most widely used smartphone feature, though voice/video calling also are popular. For healthcare, texting is gaining steam, from helping stem pre-term birth rates in rural areas to boosting mental health treatment and streamlining internal operations for hospitals and medical centers.

For more information:
- read the report (.pdf)