ideas, innovations and apps for social work in the age of smartphones and social media
New research from the Pew Internet and American Life Project shows that adults who are unpaid caregivers for a parent or child use online and mobile health tools considerably more than the average American, but only 59 percent of connected caregivers find internet tools helpful in giving care. Fifty-two percent said that online tools helped them deal with the stress of being a caregiver.
Here are some stats from the PEW report about the use of mobiles:
Thirty-nine percent of caregivers manage medications for a loved one, such as checking to be sure pills are taken properly or refilling prescriptions. Just 7% of caregivers use online or mobile tools, such as websites or apps, to do so.
Nine in ten caregivers own a cell phone and one-third have used it to gather health information
Eighty-seven percent of caregivers in the U.S. own a cell phone and, of those, 37% say they have used their phone to look for health or medical information online. This is a significantly higher than the rate of mobile health search among non-caregivers at the time of the survey: 84% of non-caregivers own a cell phone and 27% have used their phone to look online for health information.
Tracking on paper, spreadsheet, mobile device—or just “in their heads”
When asked to think about how they track the health indicator they pay the most attention to, either for themselves or someone else, 44% of caregivers who track say they do so “in their heads,” compared with 53% of non-caregivers who track. Another 43% of caregivers who track say they use paper, like a notebook or journal, compared with 28% of non-caregivers who track.
Smaller groups say they use some form of technology to track their health data. Specifically:
- 8% of caregivers who track use a medical device, like a glucose meter
- 8% use an app or other tool on their mobile phone or device
- 6% use a computer program, like a spreadsheet
- 1% use a website or other online tool
There were no differences between caregivers and non-caregivers when it comes to the use of these types of technology.