Growth in Mobile Health Search

You don’t have to look far to know that mobile usage is huge and continues to grow in leaps and bounds. Of the more than 300 million people in the United States, 96 percent have mobile phones. This is staggering to think of when just 15 years ago only 13 percent of the American population had mobile devices, according to CTIA.

Pushing this growth even further is the penetration of smartphones, which now represent 43 percent of total mobile phones, according to comScore. As these web-enabled devices edge closer to becoming the norm, consumers’ habits are also changing when it comes to how they search for information online.

By 2013 the number of people using their mobile device to search on the Internet will overtake desktop Internet users for the first time, according to Morgan Stanley Research, and by 2012 more smartphones will ship than desktop computers.

Mobile Health Trends

Not surprisingly, how consumers and health care professionals search for health-related information online is also trending toward mobile. If you think about it, mobile Internet usage and health-related queries are a perfect match.

For example, when a curious or concerning symptom arises nobody wants to wait to find out what it is. They want accurate information and they want it now. And they’re increasingly getting this information on their phones.

The Pew Internet Project found that 17 percent of cell phone users have used their phone to look up health or medical information and 9 percent have apps on their phones to track or manage their health. It also found that younger people, 18-29, are more likely to search for health-related information on their phones with 29 percent of this group acknowledging this practice.

The mobile trend is growing at an explosive rate. According to Google, current mobile health queries represent 18 percent of total search traffic, compared to 10 percent a year ago.

Health Apps, Mobile-Optimized Information

With more health-focused organizations offering apps and mobile-optimized information the choices for consumers are abundant. Most online health media companies have entered the market by offering downloadable apps.

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