Use of technology with health care providers: perspectives from urban youth

J Pediatr. 2012 Jun;160(6):997-1002. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2011.11.059. Epub 2012 Jan 13.


Objective: To evaluate urban youths' use of and access to technology and solicit their opinions about using technology with healthcare providers.

Study design: Urban youth (aged 14-24 years) were invited to participate in focus groups in which a trained focus group facilitator used a survey and a structured guide to elicit responses regarding the foregoing objective. All sessions were audiotaped and transcribed. Emergent themes were determined with the assistance of Atlas TI. Survey data were analyzed in SPSS (SPSS Inc, Chicago, Illinois).

Results: Eight focus groups including 82 primarily low-income urban African-American adolescents and young adults (mean age, 18.5 years) were completed. The participants reported fairly high access to and use of technology. However, they expressed some concerns regarding the use of technology with healthcare providers. Many worried about the confidentiality of conversations conducted using technology. Face-to-face meetings with a healthcare provider were preferred by most participants, who felt that the information provided would be better tailored to their individual needs and more credible.

Conclusion: Although urban youth were high users of technology, they expressed reservations about using technology with health care providers. When developing new technology communication and information dissemination strategies, it is critical to understand and address these concerns while involving young people in the research and development process.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Baltimore
  • Female
  • Health Personnel / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Services Accessibility*
  • Humans
  • Information Dissemination*
  • Male
  • Technology / statistics & numerical data*
  • Urban Population*
  • Young Adult