Take a look at your smartphone and quickly count how many health-related apps you have. One in five reading this have at least one health app, and that number is growing quickly.
In 2010, the Pew Research Center reported that “the online health-information environment is going mobile” . In 2010, 17% of cell phone users reported using their phones to look up health or medical information and 9% had apps on their phones that helped them track or manage their health. Flash forward to 2012 and those numbers have doubled. In 2012, 31% of cell phone owners reported using their phones to look for health information and 19% had at least one health app .
Translate those percentages into hard numbers and we’re talking about 33 million people that use their phone to search for health information and 20 million that have at least one health app. Mobile health — frequently called “mHealth” — has indeed found its market: smartphone owners.
Infographic: Healthcare On the Go
Franklin Street, a branding and advertising agency specializing in health and wellness, recently posted the infographic below on mobile health. It’s somewhat ironic that cell phones are the platform for mobile health given the health hazards of mobile devices. Nevertheless, mobile is still a big deal for healthcare. By the year 2015, it’s projected that 500 million people will have health-related apps on their smartphones .
Many healthcare-focused organizations are coming to the realization that more and more people are accessing their websites via mobile devices. Although they’ve been reluctant to embrace online advertising, as smartphones become more integrated in healthcare, advertising is following. Firms such as Franklin Street are encouraging these companies to invest in online health advertising and “get ahead of the curve.”
Digital marketing agency Heartbeat Ideas encourages its healthcare clients to put as much of their ad budget as possible into searches including mobile advertising . According to Lee Slovitt, Heartbeat’s media director, “The return on investment [for mobile advertising] is much higher than radio or TV. If searchers are actively looking for information on a given condition or a specific drug, they are much more likely to respond to a commercial message.”