The Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes, and trends shaping America and the world, issued a report finding that only about seven percent of people surveyed used a smartphone app to track a health indicator like weight, diet, exercise routine, or to monitor a chronic disease such as diabetes.
The research suggests that consumers are slow to latch on to smartphone technology for health even in a market with hundreds of new apps coming on the market to manage weight and track blood pressure, pregnancy, blood sugar, diabetes or medication. The report says that health app uptake has been essentially flat for three years.
The researchers found that 19 percent of smartphone owners have downloaded an app related to health, although these were not necessarily used for monitoring a specific health issue. Roughly half of those tracking their health or symptoms said they keep track of progress "in their heads," while 21 percent use some form of technology, which could include spreadsheet, medical device, or app. The study found that a third of all "trackers" share their data with someone else, most often a medical professional.
The survey also found that a "notable number" of trackers with chronic conditions said they do not keep formal records." Some 37 percent of people with two or more conditions said they memorize progress notes, as do 48 percent of those who are monitoring a single health issue.