Study finds key predictors for mHealth usage among consumers

A new study has found "multiple predictors" shown to have "significant associations" with mHealth usage intentions, assimilation, and channel preferences among U.S. consumers, according to an article in the Journal of Medical Internet Research

"Before this study, there was limited understanding as to what determinants were associated with mHealth usage intentions, extent of mHealth assimilation, and why mHealth might be preferred as a complementary or substitutive service consumption channel in a context traditionally associated with hands-on, in-person interactions," states the article.

In the study, data was collected from 1,132 nationally representative U.S. consumers and analyzed by using moderated multivariate regressions and analysis of variance (ANOVA). Among the results: 37.99 percent of consumers have started using mHealth; and 66.96 percent of consumers are favorable to using mHealth as a complement to in-person doctor visits than as a substitute (47 percent). Additionally, consumers' personal innovativeness toward mobile services (PIMS) and perceived health conditions have significant positive direct influences on mHealth usage intentions, assimilation, and channel preferences.

In addition, a follow-up ANOVA examination found that those who were more favorable toward using mHealth as a substitute for in-person doctor visits than as a complement indicated stronger intentions to use mHealth.

"These findings elaborate prior research suggesting that individual innovativeness, individual traits, and health self-perceptions are associated with usage intentions," states the article.

Finally, the study also found that increased age is associated with decreased usage intentions and assimilation of mHealth, whereas increased income is associated with increased mHealth use, and that education was a "positive and significant predictor" associated with using mHealth as a complement to in-person doctor's office visits. 

A recent survey of 2,000 U.S. patients by healthcare marketing and advertising agency Digitas Health found that 90 percent of patients would accept the offer of a mobile app, while only 66 percent of respondents would accept prescription medicine from their doctor. Those using mobile health technology were pretty evenly distributed across age groups, but they were highly skewed towards women, according to the survey results. Moreover, nearly 60 percent of the mobile health users surveyed were considering switching their treatment.

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