Mobile Health in Rheumatology: A Patient Survey Study exploring Usage, Preferences, Barriers and eHealth Literacy (Preprint)

Publication Type Journal Article
Authors Johannes Knitza, David Simon, Antonia Lambrecht, Christina Raab, Koray Tascilar, Melanie Hagen, Arnd Kleyer, Sara Bayat, Adrian Derungs, Oliver Amft, Georg Schett, Axel J Hueber
Title Mobile Health in Rheumatology: A Patient Survey Study exploring Usage, Preferences, Barriers and eHealth Literacy (Preprint)
Abstract Background: Mobile health (mHealth) defines the support and practice of health care using mobile devices and promises to improve the current treatment situation of patients with chronic diseases. Little is known about mHealth usage and digital preferences of patients with chronic rheumatic diseases.

Objective: The aim of the study was to explore mHealth usage, preferences, barriers, and eHealth literacy reported by German patients with rheumatic diseases.

Methods: Between December 2018 and January 2019, patients (recruited consecutively) with rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and axial spondyloarthritis were asked to complete a paper-based survey. The survey included questions on sociodemographics, health characteristics, mHealth usage, eHealth literacy using eHealth Literacy Scale (eHEALS), and communication and information preferences.

Results: Of the patients (N=193) who completed the survey, 176 patients (91.2%) regularly used a smartphone, and 89 patients (46.1%) regularly used social media. Patients (132/193, 68.4%) believed that using medical apps could be beneficial for their own health. Out of 193 patients, only 8 (4.1%) were currently using medical apps, and only 22 patients (11.4%) stated that they knew useful rheumatology websites/mobile apps. Nearly all patients (188/193, 97.4%) would agree to share their mobile app data for research purposes. Out of 193 patients, 129 (66.8%) would regularly enter data using an app, and 146 patients (75.6%) would welcome official mobile app recommendations from the national rheumatology society. The preferred duration for data entry was not more than 15 minutes (110/193, 57.0%), and the preferred frequency was weekly (59/193, 30.6%). Medication information was the most desired app feature (150/193, 77.7%). Internet was the most frequently utilized source of information (144/193, 74.6%). The mean eHealth literacy was low (26.3/40) and was positively correlated with younger age, app use, belief in benefit of using medical apps, and current internet use to obtain health information.

Conclusions: Patients with rheumatic diseases are very eager to use mHealth technologies to better understand their chronic diseases. This open-mindedness is counterbalanced by low mHealth usage and competency. Personalized mHealth solutions and clear implementation recommendations are needed to realize the full potential of mHealth in rheumatology.

Publication JMIR mHealth and uHealth
Volume 8
Issue 8
Date 2020
Language en
DOI 10.2196/19661
ISSN 2291-5222
Short Title Mobile Health in Rheumatology
URL Publisher's website
Full Text PDF
Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg