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Big increase in US mobile health audience

Some 95 million adults now use their phone for health purposes

Nokia Lumia Windows smartphoneThe number of American adults that use their mobile phone to gather health information or use health tools has shot up over the last year.

Data from Manhattan Research puts the US mobile health audience at 95 million adults, a 27 per cent year-on-year increase when the figure stood at 75 million.

The consultants say mobile phones have become for many an indispensable source of healthcare information – their latest Cybercitizen Health study found 38 per cent of online smartphone users said the devices were “essential” for finding health and medical information.

Monique Levy, vice president of research at Manhattan Research, said: “Many pharma marketers still underestimate both the opportunity and complexity of the mobile channel.

“Many marketers will need to reset assumptions around when, where and how these devices are used for health. What's clear is that patients are using these devices throughout the patient journey, for quick questions and deep research, and increasingly to actually manage their condition and care.”

Manhattan counsels pharma marketers that having mobile-optimised websites is key in light of the growth of mobile health.

The industry has been quick to launch mobile apps but slower when it comes to developing mobile versions of its sites, and research by PMLiVE last year found big pharma was less mobile-ready than consumer brands.

This is slowly changing as more companies optimise their site for mobile, with Sanofi's corporate site and Merck & Co's health information site Merck Engage among the most recent to gain a mobile version.

These developments come at an important time; Manhattan found that consumers access health information on mobile phones at home, and not just when they are out and about.

The study, which involved over 8,600 US adults quizzed online and on the phone, also showed that mobile health adoption, activities and attitudes vary greatly among the patient audiences tracked. It also found that while adoption of pharma's mobile apps is low, they are still considered strongly influential tools for the people who make use of them.

25th October 2013

From: Marketing

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