Smartphone and tablet users want health apps that help them manage practical aspects of healthcare or health emergencies, an online survey by communications agency Ruder Finn has found.

An app that could make an appointment with the GP was the most wanted (42 percent) health app among consumers with smartphones and/or tablets, the online survey of 1,200 respondents by YouGov revealed.   The second most wanted app was one to get test results (31 percent), followed by one to view personal medical records (30 percent).

The survey also revealed that there is far less interest in apps that monitor (12 percent) or manage long-term health conditions (9 percent) and that there is a difference in health app usage based on the type of device. Respondents with iPhones, for example, were more likely to use a health and healthy living app (17 percent) compared to those using Blackberries (5 percent).

"There is perhaps an assumption that mHealth will automatically help reduce costs and improve long term monitoring services but our survey shows  smartphone and tablet users are very cautious about these kinds of applications," says Emma Sinden, head of corporate and technology at Ruder Finn. 

"Perhaps not surprisingly  smartphone and tablet users aged 34 and under are most likely to use applications regularly which may have a bearing on the  importance of healthcare apps in  the future. Younger generations are generally less concerned with health problems simply because they are less affected. But as  those aged 34 and under  age it is likely that this digital generation will look for digital solutions to better manage their health."