29% of U.S. Broadband Households Have Connected Health Device

New research reveals that 29 percent of U.S. broadband households own a connected health device—up from 27 percent a year ago—while 12 percent of broadband households own multiple connected health devices.

Those are among the findings of Dallas-based research and consulting firm Parks Associates. The firm also reports that more 50 percent of broadband households use an online health tool to communicate with their doctor, access personal health data, or fill prescriptions.

“The adoption rate for fitness trackers and GPS watches has increased, while the adoption rate for other connected health devices has been more stable,” said Harry Wang, director of health and mobile product research at Parks Associates. “Fitness trackers stand out as one of the more successful product categories thanks to the release of better products and major marketing campaigns.”

According to Leichtman Research Group, nearly four of every five U.S. households subscribe to a high-speed (broadband) Internet service at home—an increase from 20 percent of households with broadband in 2004—boding well for the growth of connected health devices leveraging those networks.

Also See: Consumer Privacy, Security at Risk from Internet-Connected Health Devices

On the mobile front, a 2015 Pew Research Center survey found that nearly two-thirds of American adults (64 percent) now own a smartphone of some kind, up from 58 percent in early 2014. And, 62 percent of smartphone owners have used their phone in the last year to look up information about a health condition.

Similarly, a separate Parks Associates report earlier this year found that more than 40 million smartphone owners are active users of at least one wellness or fitness app and about one in four heads of household in broadband households use a mobile app to track their fitness progress or calorie intake.

However, while U.S.-based mobile carriers have the potential of serving as “valuable bridges between healthcare providers and their patients in facilitating digital communications,” the report revealed that they have been slow to make their way into the wellness and fitness space, unlike carriers in global markets, particularly Asia, where carriers have been aggressive in entering the health markets.

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