The future of the digital health industry depends on people seeing mobile devices as adding some value to their health and well-being. The results of a recent survey offers encouraging findings that indeed many Americans think that these devices add value to their lives.

In a recent online survey, Harris Interactive surveyed 2,500 adults asking the question: “Are Americans ready for a brave new world of healthcare?” Their answers were encouraging for this still nascent field.

The survey demonstrated that there is general interest in using smartphones and tablets for health matters. 43% of the respondents were extremely or very interested in using an app that tracks their physical activity. Also, over 40% of individuals of all ages were interested in using the smartphone or tablet for measuring blood pressure (48%), heart rate (47%), general blood testing (41%), or photographing their eye to diagnose problems (40%).

Not surprisingly, the data also suggested that younger generations of Americans have shown the most significant interest in mobile services. For example, when asked whether they would be interested in using various health related services on a smartphone or a tablet, 57% of people age 18 to 37 said they would be interested in using an app to track their physical activity, whereas only 25% of those over 65 were interested.

The survey responses also indicate that patients who have chronic or long term medical conditions have high interest in monitoring key biometric data such as high blood pressure or other markers that may be reflective of things like heart disease. This makes sense because they would likely derive the most benefit from using their devices in this manner.

One interesting observation is that the more that uses for a smartphone and tablet begin to look like something that is typically performed in a clinic, the lower the desire of people to use the phone in this way becomes. In other words, more clinical uses are not that popular – such as urinalysis or stool sample. One surprising finding is that diet tracking was not that popular with only 36% of the surveyed individuals being interested, although the number was much higher (50%) for people age 18 – 37.

Overall, the survey supports the notion that health related apps have value for Americans and have a promising future among consumers. Now all we need are more quality apps to match their interests.