Study: Age, education critical to device use for docs and patients

Acceptance and use of mHealth devices for medical care by doctors and patients varies given age and education levels, according to a research report from Hannover Medical School in Germany, which examined how medical staff and patients perceive mHealth devices.

The researchers, noting the increasing popularity of mHealth tech, initiated the study because of a lack of insight regarding how medical professionals and patients view emerging technology, as well as concerns and expectations. The survey of doctors and patients at Hannover Medical School reveals a good majority of doctors, 81.6 percent, own mobile devices and more male physicians, 45.2 percent, use mHealth tech than female physicians, 25 percent.

"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," according to authors of the report, which was published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.

The Hannover study also reveals patients appear more critical of mHealth tools that doctors, specifically in regard to storing and processing data. Both groups expressed minor concerns regarding content credibility and technical reliability. A little more than 10 percent of patients are concerned the technology is too complicated to be used in a health scenario.

The findings align with a recent TechCrunch column written by IBM healthcare and life sciences chief Dan Pelino, who believes mHealth tech will only succeed when they provide specific solutions in a secure manner.

"When clinical apps are designed for mobile with the clinician and patient user experience in mind, mobile will deliver even greater value to our medical system," he writes. "It will put the patient at the center of the system's mobile strategy--enabling users to efficiently share information among a patient's entire care team and to apply advanced analytics at the point of care."

The Hannover research offers up a very similar conclusion.

"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," the author's write.

For more information:
- read the JMIR study abstract

Related Articles:
mHealth success hinges on security, workflow adaptability
Mobile device security in health industry 'immature'
Why mHealth apps require risk assessment, framework prior to use
Docs show little interest in mobile data tools, wearable devices
Connected health devices gain traction with success tied to design quality, user experience

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