What would it take to improve the uptake and utilisation of mHealth applications among older Australians? A qualitative studyTanja Schroeder A C * , Karla Seaman A , Amy Nguyen A , Joyce Siette B , Heiko Gewald C and Andrew Georgiou A
© 2024 The Author(s) (or their employer(s)). Published by CSIRO Publishing on behalf of AHHA.
Health-related apps on mobile devices (mHealth apps) have become an effective self-management tool and treatment support for patients. There is limited research, however, on how older people (50 and over) perceive the opportunity of using mHealth apps. Our aim was to investigate the perceptions of older people in Australia regarding the opportunity of using prescribed or doctor-recommended mHealth apps and provide insights which can enhance their uptake of mHealth.
This was a qualitative study using semi-structured interviews involving 21 participants aged 51–82 years. Qualitative thematic analysis was used to categorise the factors that influence the adoption of mHealth apps by older adults.
We show that beyond the prominent influencing factors from technology adoption research (such as performance and effort expectancy, social influence and facilitating conditions), health-specific factors such as a trusting doctor-patient relationship and strong health self-efficacy positively influence the intended adoption of mHealth apps among older adults. In addition, the IT security and accurate interpretation of participants’ input in an mHealth app can present barriers to mHealth app adoption.
Our analyses provide additional insights complementing existing technology adoption research. Their successful adoption and utilisation require further empirical evidence on its effectiveness along with attention to the voices of those who are meant to use them. To address potential barriers, improve the quality and security of mHealth apps, and thus achieve greater patient safety, the involvement of consumers, regulators and health professionals is necessary.
Keywords: aged care, chronic disease management, eHealth, health behaviour, mHealth applications, patient-centred care, technology adoption research.
3 Grand View Research. mHealth Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report By Component, By Services (Monitoring Services, Diagnosis Services), By Participants (Mobile Operators, Devices Vendors), By Region, And Segment Forecasts, 2024 - 2030. 2023. p. 118. Available at https://www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/mhealth-market
4 European Union. Shaping Europe’s digital future. 2021. Available at https://digital-strategy.ec.europa.eu/en
8 Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM). The Fast-Track Process for Digital Health Applications (DiGA) according to Section 139e SGB V. A Guide for Manufacturers, Service Providers and Users. 2020. pp. 1–128. Available at https://www.bfarm.de/SharedDocs/Downloads/EN/MedicalDevices/DiGA_Guide.html