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Mobile Health (mHealth) Technology: Assessment of Availability, Acceptability, and Use in CKD

Digital and mobile health (mHealth) technologies improve patient-provider communication and increase information accessibility. We assessed the use of technology, attitudes toward using mHealth technologies, and proficiency in using mHealth technologies among individuals with chronic kidney disease (CKD). Cross-sectional survey with open text responses. Chronic Renal Insufficiency Cohort (CRIC) Study participants who completed current use and interest in using mHealth technologies questionnaires and the eHealth literacy Survey (eHEALS). Participant characteristics. Use of technology (ie, internet, email, smartphone, and mHealth applications [apps]), interest in future mHealth use, and proficiency in using digital and mHealth technologies, or eHealth literacy, determined by eHEALS score. Poisson regression and a qualitative content analysis of open-ended responses. Study participants (n = 932) had a mean age of 68 years old and an estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) of 54 mL/min/1.73 m2, and 59% were male. Approximately 70% reported current use of internet, email, and smartphones, and 35% used mHealth apps; only 27% had adequate eHealth literacy (eHEALS score ≥ 32). Participants <65 years of age (vs. ≥65), with more education, higher income, better cognition, and adequate health literacy reported more use of technology, and greater interest in using technologies. Participants of White (vs. non-White) race reported more use of internet and email but less interest in future use of mHealth. Younger age, higher annual income, and greater disease self-efficacy were associated with adequate eHealth literacy. Three themes regarding interest in using digital and mHealth technologies emerged: willingness, concerns, and barriers. Residual confounding, ascertainment bias. Many individuals with CKD currently use the internet and smartphones and are interested in using mHealth in the future, but few use mHealth apps or have adequate eHealth literacy. mHealth technologies present an opportunity to engage individuals with CKD, especially members of racial or ethnic minority groups because those groups reported greater interest in using mHealth technology than the nonminority population. Further research is needed to identify strategies to overcome inadequate eHealth literacy.

Authors: Schrauben, Sarah J; Go, Alan S; CRIC Study Investigators,; et al.

Am J Kidney Dis. 2021 06;77(6):941-950.e1. Epub 2020-12-09.

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