Healthy Trends for Digital Health

health info on ipadDoctors and patients are increasingly tapping, zooming, and clicking in a flurry of connectivity.  According to Fred Pennic author of HIT Consultant’s Mind Blowing HIT Stats and Trends:

  • 85% of US Physicians own or use any smartphone professionally
  • 62% of US physicians own a tablet
  • 81% of physicians own an iPad
  • 50% of tablet owning physicians have used their device at the point of care
  • 39% of US physicians communicate online with patients via email, secure messaging, instant messaging, or online video conferencing
  • Two-thirds of physicians use online video to learn and keep up to date with clinical information
  • 88% of physicians would like patients to be able to track or monitor their health at home

Physicians spend an average of 11 hours online for professional purposes per week. And those with three screens (tablets, smartphones, and desktops/laptops) spend more time online on each device and go online more often during the workday than physicians with one or two screens.

wireless doctorsIn addition to communicating with patients, most doctors say they wish they could wirelessly access electronic medical records, prescribe, monitor both in- and out-patients and track patient referrals.

And it’s not just doctors. Patients and consumers are at it too!  Health related Google searches are up 47% from last year, and:

  • 20% of patients would like to monitor their fitness & wellbeing
  • 18% would like to allow a physician to remotely monitor a condition
  • 80% of Internet users look online for health information
  • 20% search for health related content on mobile devices
  • 23% use social media to follow health experiences of friends

Even more mind-blowing…in 2012 consumers were willing to spend $14 Billion on digital health products. This included $700 Million on mobile health applications, $4 Billion on health related video games and $8.9 Billion on resources rating doctors & hospitals.

No word from Fred on how much of their health information people are getting from blogs such as Word on Health. But with thousands of views each day, and increase in readership of >100% versus 2011, we certainly seem to be part of this upwards digital healthcare trend.

Where do you get your healthcare information? We’d love to hear from you.

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OMG! Smartphone Sex Risk for Teens

Teenagers and their phones!  As any parent or indeed observer of human life knows, the mobile phone has become the most important adolescent accessoryTexting has even taken over from talking as their preferred form of communication. 72% of all teens and 88% of teen cell phone users text-message at least once a day.

And while they may not all rival world record texter, Fred Lidgren, who sent 566,607 text messages during a one month period, I know several who are not far behind. And for those of you still doing the math, yes that’s a staggering 18,887 texts per day or 787 per hour or 13 texts each minute. LOL!

Not only does smartphone use kill the art of conversation, it has a decidedly most sinister side-effect.  According to new research just presented at the American Public Health Association meeting, smartphone use among teens is associated with an increased likelihood of being solicited for sex and having sex with an internet-met partner.

According to a 2011 survey among almost two thousand Los Angeles high school students, young people with smartphones are one and a half times as likely to report being sexually active, almost two times as likely to have been approached online for sex, and more than twice as likely to engage in sex with an Internet-met partner compared with those who do not access the internet on their cell phones.

Additionally, those being solicited online for sex are also found to be engaging in unprotected sex. Five percent of the participants reported using the Internet to seek sex partners and 17% of the participants reported being approached online for sex by someone they did not know.

We, parents, health educators, physicians, must recognize that cell phones are yet another new way for adolescents to meet sex partners,” said researcher Hailey Winetrobe, MPH. “Parents and school health professionals should talk to their teens about being safe in meeting people online and in using condoms to prevent sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancies.”

While we’re not suggesting that parents take their teenagers cell phones away, maybe it’s time to put those smartphones to good use and create apps and websites for adolescent-targeted sexual health programs.

What do you think?