Background: Technological tools such as Web-based social networks, telemedicine, apps, or wearable devices are becoming more widespread in health care like elsewhere. Although patients are the main users, for example, to monitor symptoms and clinical parameters or to communicate with the doctor, their perspective is seldom analyzed, and to the best of our knowledge, no one has focused on the patients’ health care advocacy associations’ point of view. Objective: The objective of this study was to assess patients’ health care advocacy associations’ opinions about the use, usefulness, obstacles, negative aspects, and impact of health apps and wearable devices through a Web-based survey. Methods: We conducted a Web-based survey through SurveyMonkey over nearly 3 months. Participants were contacted via an email explaining the aims of the survey and providing a link to complete the Web-based questionnaire. All the 20 items were mandatory, and the anonymized data were collected automatically into a database. Only fully completed questionnaires were considered for analysis. Results: We contacted 1998 patients’ health care advocacy associations; a total of 258 questionnaires were received back (response rate 12.91%), and 227 of the received questionnaires were fully completed (completion rate 88.0%). Informative apps, hospital apps for viewing medical reports or booking visits, and those for monitoring physical activity are the most used. They are considered especially useful to improve patients’ engagement and compliance with treatment. Wearable devices to check physical activity and glycemia are the most widespread considering, again, their benefits in increasing patients’ involvement and treatment compliance. For health apps and wearable devices, the main obstacles to their use are personal and technical reasons; the risk of overmedicalization is considered the most negative aspect of their constant use, while privacy and confidentiality of data are not rated a limitation. No statistical difference was found on stratifying the answers by responders’ technological level (P=.30), age (P=.10), and the composition of the association’s advisory board (P=.15). Conclusions: According to responders, health apps and wearable devices are sufficiently known and used and are considered potential supports for greater involvement in health management. However, there are still obstacles to their adoption, and the developers need to work to make them more accessible and more useful. The involvement of patients and their associations in planning services and products based on these technologies (as well as others) would be desirable to overcome these barriers and boost awareness about privacy and the confidentiality of data

Use of health apps and wearable devices: Survey among Italian associations for patient advocacy

E. Lettieri;
2019

Abstract

Background: Technological tools such as Web-based social networks, telemedicine, apps, or wearable devices are becoming more widespread in health care like elsewhere. Although patients are the main users, for example, to monitor symptoms and clinical parameters or to communicate with the doctor, their perspective is seldom analyzed, and to the best of our knowledge, no one has focused on the patients’ health care advocacy associations’ point of view. Objective: The objective of this study was to assess patients’ health care advocacy associations’ opinions about the use, usefulness, obstacles, negative aspects, and impact of health apps and wearable devices through a Web-based survey. Methods: We conducted a Web-based survey through SurveyMonkey over nearly 3 months. Participants were contacted via an email explaining the aims of the survey and providing a link to complete the Web-based questionnaire. All the 20 items were mandatory, and the anonymized data were collected automatically into a database. Only fully completed questionnaires were considered for analysis. Results: We contacted 1998 patients’ health care advocacy associations; a total of 258 questionnaires were received back (response rate 12.91%), and 227 of the received questionnaires were fully completed (completion rate 88.0%). Informative apps, hospital apps for viewing medical reports or booking visits, and those for monitoring physical activity are the most used. They are considered especially useful to improve patients’ engagement and compliance with treatment. Wearable devices to check physical activity and glycemia are the most widespread considering, again, their benefits in increasing patients’ involvement and treatment compliance. For health apps and wearable devices, the main obstacles to their use are personal and technical reasons; the risk of overmedicalization is considered the most negative aspect of their constant use, while privacy and confidentiality of data are not rated a limitation. No statistical difference was found on stratifying the answers by responders’ technological level (P=.30), age (P=.10), and the composition of the association’s advisory board (P=.15). Conclusions: According to responders, health apps and wearable devices are sufficiently known and used and are considered potential supports for greater involvement in health management. However, there are still obstacles to their adoption, and the developers need to work to make them more accessible and more useful. The involvement of patients and their associations in planning services and products based on these technologies (as well as others) would be desirable to overcome these barriers and boost awareness about privacy and the confidentiality of data
health apps; mobile phone; Web-based survey; patients’ health care advocacy associations; wearable devices
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11311/1082446
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