Health information tracking via mobile applications for individuals with chronic health conditions



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By 2015, 149 million Americans are expected to be living with chronic health conditions (Anderson 2010). This number is expected to continue rising. Many chronic health conditions require those living with them to perform health self-management tasks on a regular basis. Nearly two in every five adults with one chronic condition and three out of every five adults with at least two chronic conditions track their health information. This paper investigates the use of mobile applications and the need to develop applications specifically designed for individuals living with chronic health conditions. Pew data are used to determine who is tracking their health information and how they are tracking it. Results from this analysis show that individuals with chronic health conditions have 69% greater odds of tracking health information than individuals who do not live with chronic conditions. Additionally, those with chronic conditions are 254% more likely than those without chronic conditions to track health indicators that are not related to diet, weight or exercise. These individuals are not, however, using mobile applications to track their health information. People with chronic health conditions have higher probabilities of tracking health information on paper or in their heads than their probability of tracking via a mobile application. However, the probability that individuals track health information via mobile apps increases when analyzing a subset of the population who own smartphones. After learning more about individuals with chronic conditions and their health information tracking habits, several mobile health applications are reviewed. The reviews of these applications include the features offered by the applications and their price. The paper concludes with several recommendations for developing and disseminating mobile health tracking applications to individuals with chronic conditions, as well as suggestions for future research.