One Third of Canadians use Mobile Apps to Track Health: Study

(Toronto) – Thirty-two per cent of Canadian adults consult health apps on their mobile devices, but only 28 per cent of those in poor health do so.  Meanwhile, 24 per cent of Canadians use smart connected devices to track health conditions or well-being, according to a new study funded by Canada Health Infoway (Infoway) and conducted in partnership with HEC Montréal and CEFRIO.

“The findings of the study demonstrate the opportunity Canadians have to be proactive in their overall wellness through the use of mobile apps and smart connected devices such as watches, wristbands or other wearables.” said Michael Green, President and CEO, Canada Health Infoway.

The study examined results from a national survey of 4,109 Canadian adults, which sought to understand consumer use patterns for mobile apps and smart devices to monitor health and well-being. It is the first internationally comparable study of its kind, and the largest ever, world-wide.

“Results from the Diffusion of Mobile Health Apps and Smart Connected Devices in Canada study can be used to set the national baseline for future studies in mobile health apps and smart connected devices,” said Guy Paré, Research Chair in Digital Health, HEC Montréal. “The study findings can also be used to help the health IT community better understand the current market in Canada to determine practical next steps for the industry.”

The study found that Canadians using mobile apps or smart connected devices to track their health or well-being are typically:

  • Younger adults between the ages of 18 and 30 (41 per cent);
  • Employed (59 per cent);
  • University educated (55 per cent);
  • Make an annual family income of more than $80,000 (46 per cent);
  • Not currently living with a chronic illness or condition (only 28% of Canadians that use mobile apps or smart connected devices to track their health or well-being report having a specific chronic illness or condition).

“Forty-two percent of users monitoring their health with smart connected devices and mobile apps find that they are better prepared to meet with their physician. It is in the interest of the Canadian health system to rapidly put in place the necessary frameworks in order to take advantage of this connected and informed user base and thus enhance the patient-doctor relationship,” said Jacqueline Dubé, President and General Manager, CEFRIO.

Nancy Huyck, who lives with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), is part of the 24 per cent of Canadians who use smart connected devices. Every morning, she uses equipment that measures and transmits her blood pressure, weight and oxygen levels to her care team so they can intervene early and avoid her making a trip to the hospital.

“I’m used to showing up at the emergency room or being admitted every couple of months,” she said.  “But I haven’t seen the inside of a hospital or even a walk-in clinic since I started receiving in-home monitoring last spring.”

About Canada Health Infoway

Canada Health Infoway helps to improve the health of Canadians by working with partners to accelerate the development, adoption and effective use of digital health across Canada. Through our investments, we help deliver better quality and access to care and more efficient delivery of health services for patients and clinicians. Infoway is an independent, not-for-profit organization funded by the federal government.

About the Research Chair in Digital Health

The work of HEC Montréal’s Research Chair in Digital Health focuses on three main objectives: to better understand the leverage of information technologies for developing and implementing new health care organizational methods; to identify and measure the clinical, structural and financial impacts of implementing new technologies; and to study the main risks and issues – human, organizational, political or technological – related to this major digital shift. The knowledge that the Chair develops through its various research projects will help ensure successful implementation of the technologies required to carry out several priorities under the current Quebec and Canadian reforms, including in areas such as home care, primary care and integrated care networks.


CEFRIO is a research and innovation organization that supports public and private organizations as they transform their processes and business practices through the appropriation and use of digital technologies. CEFRIO is a member of QuébecInnove and has a mandate from the Government of Quebec to contribute to the advancement of Quebec society through digital technology. It conducts research, experiments and surveys, and raises awareness of the uses for digital technologies in every aspect of society. Its work relies on the contributions of its experienced team, a network of over 90 associated and visiting investigators as well as the commitment of close to 250 members. CEFRIO’s primary financial partner is Quebec’s Ministère de l’Économie, de la Science et de l’Innovation.


Karen Schmidt
Director, Corporate/Internal Communications
Canada Health Infoway
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