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Mobile Technologies: Expectancy, Usage, and Acceptance of Clinical Staff and Patients at a University Medical Center

  • BACKGROUND: Despite their increasing popularity, little is known about how users perceive mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet PCs in medical contexts. Available studies are often restricted to evaluating the success of specific interventions and do not adequately cover the users' basic attitudes, for example, their expectations or concerns toward using mobile devices in medical settings. OBJECTIVE: The objective of the study was to obtain a comprehensive picture, both from the perspective of the patients, as well as the doctors, regarding the use and acceptance of mobile devices within medical contexts in general well as the perceived challenges when introducing the technology. METHODS: Doctors working at Hannover Medical School (206/1151, response 17.90%), as well as patients being admitted to this facility (213/279, utilization 76.3%) were surveyed about their acceptance and use of mobile devices in medical settings. Regarding demographics, both samples were representative of the respective study population. GNU R (version 3.1.1) was used for statistical testing. Fisher's exact test, two-sided, alpha=.05 with Monte Carlo approximation, 2000 replicates, was applied to determine dependencies between two variables. RESULTS: The majority of participants already own mobile devices (doctors, 168/206, 81.6%; patients, 110/213, 51.6%). For doctors, use in a professional context does not depend on age (P=.66), professional experience (P=.80), or function (P=.34); gender was a factor (P=.009), and use was more common among male (61/135, 45.2%) than female doctors (17/67, 25%). A correlation between use of mobile devices and age (P=.001) as well as education (P=.002) was seen for patients. Minor differences regarding how mobile devices are perceived in sensitive medical contexts mostly relate to data security, patients are more critical of the devices being used for storing and processing patient data; every fifth patient opposed this, but nevertheless, 4.8% of doctors (10/206) use their devices for this purpose. Both groups voiced only minor concerns about the credibility of the provided content or the technical reliability of the devices. While 8.3% of the doctors (17/206) avoided use during patient contact because they thought patients might be unfamiliar with the devices, (25/213) 11.7% of patients expressed concerns about the technology being too complicated to be used in a health context. CONCLUSIONS: Differences in how patients and doctors perceive the use of mobile devices can be attributed to age and level of education; these factors are often mentioned as contributors of the problems with (mobile) technologies. To fully realize the potential of mobile technologies in a health care context, the needs of both the elderly as well as those who are educationally disadvantaged need to be carefully addressed in all strategies relating to mobile technology in a health context.

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Author:Kristin Illiger, Markus Hupka, Ute von Jahn, Daniel WichelhausORCiDGND, Urs-Vito AlbrechtORCiDGND
DOI original:https://doi.org/10.2196/mhealth.3799
Parent Title (English):Journal of medical internet research : mobile and ubiquitous health
Document Type:Article
Year of Completion:2014
Publishing Institution:Hochschule Hannover
Release Date:2016/07/08
Tag:data protection; health care; mobile health; patients; privacy
Link to catalogue:879469390
Institutes:Fakult├Ąt IV - Wirtschaft und Informatik
DDC classes:610 Medizin, Gesundheit
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 2.0