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Women's Health

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Lots of Americans Want Health Care Via Smartphone

But all too often, the demand outpaces the technology to deliver it, Harris Interactive/HealthDay poll finds

continued...

Of course, your doctor has to have the systems in place to do something with that information. And, Schleyer added, depending on where you live, and what health system you're in, that may or may not be the reality.

Schleyer said he has first-hand experience with the obstacles. His wife found an app that let her record and organize her blood pressure readings, only to discover that her smartphone "couldn't talk" to their health-care system's portal.

She ended up just bringing her smartphone to her doctor's visit.

"This poll shows us that the public is interested in using these apps," Schleyer said. "But the health-care system has to make it easier for them to do it."

Taylor said that in some other countries, services like these are more widely used because they are required or doctors are compensated to employ them. "But in this country," he said, "most doctors and hospitals have little or no incentives to provide them. They are unlikely to offer them until it is in their interest to do so."

Another poll finding was that, not surprisingly, younger adults are more eager to use their smartphones and tablets than older adults. Only one-quarter of people aged 65 and older were very interested in using the devices to help manage their blood pressure, for instance -- compared to 38 percent of younger people.

On one hand, Schleyer noted, older adults could stand to benefit the most from such technology, because they're more likely to have chronic health conditions and need more contact with their doctors.

On the other hand, they may simply not be as comfortable with smartphones and tablets as younger generations are, he said.

Despite the interest in tapping into smartphones and tablets for health care, some poll respondents had some misgivings. They were less inclined to want e-mail or text "reminders" to exercise, quit smoking, or take medication, for example.

Schleyer said that may be because it's a bit like having your mom nag you electronically. Plus, many Americans are already inundated with e-mails and texts. "People may feel there's already too much digital information flying at them," he said.

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