A new survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project has found that 52 percent of smartphone users in the US have looked up health or medical information on their handsets, compared to just six percent of non-smartphone users.
Overall, nearly one in three (31 percent) of mobile phone users in the US have looked up health information on their handsets, an increase from the 17 percent of users in a comparable survey in 2010.
However the proportion of all users with apps that track or manage their health is only 11 percent, barely up from the nine percent of two years ago.
Certain demographics are more likely to research health matters on their phones. The survey highlights Latinos, African American, those in the 18-49 age group and holders of college degrees as falling into this category.
Despite the prevalence of text messaging, just nine percent of mobile users receive SMS updates about health or medical issues. Women aged between 30 and 64 years of age and smartphone users are the most likely to have signed up for such services that typically offer advice in areas such as pregnancy or quitting smoking.
Some 19 percent of smartphone users have at least one health app on their handset. Exercise, diet and weight apps are unsurprisingly the most popular choices. Such lifestyle apps are less complex to offer than apps which attempt to manage, for instance, chronic conditions.