Global M-Health Initiative

Dr. Alain B. Labrique (left) and Elizabeth Jordan (front center, in white) of the Johns Hopkins Global M-Health Initiative are pictured with some members of their steering committee, including faculty and students from the Schools of Nursing, Public Health, Medicine and Jhpiego. (Amy Davis, Baltimore Sun / March 14, 2012)

There are a bunch of companies in Maryland (plus Johns Hopkins) that are focused on mobile health -- using mobile devices to encourage healthy behaviors -- and the latest poll from the Pew Internet and American Life Project should be encouraging for them.

The Pew report found that nearly one-third -- 31 percent -- of cellphone users had used their device to access health information. That was nearly double the 17 percent who said they did so two years ago, according to Pew. (You can read the report here.)

And it's smartphone owners who account for the bulk of the activity. According to Pew:

52% [of smartphone owners] gather health information on their phones, compared with 6% of non-smartphone owners. Cell phone owners who are Latino, African American, between the ages of 18-49, or hold a college degree are also more likely to gather health information this way.

I wrote a story two years ago about trends in mobile health, looking at some of the companies engaged in this sector in Maryland, one of them being Baltimore's WellDoc.