Mobile health devices: will patients actually use them?

J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2016 May;23(3):462-6. doi: 10.1093/jamia/ocv186. Epub 2016 Jan 17.


Although mobile health (mHealth) devices offer a unique opportunity to capture patient health data remotely, it is unclear whether patients will consistently use multiple devices simultaneously and/or if chronic disease affects adherence. Three healthy and three chronically ill participants were recruited to provide data on 11 health indicators via four devices and a diet app. The healthy participants averaged overall weekly use of 76%, compared to 16% for those with chronic illnesses. Device adherence declined across all participants during the study. Patients with chronic illnesses, with arguably the most to benefit from advanced (or increased) monitoring, may be less likely to adopt and use these devices compared to healthy individuals. Results suggest device fatigue may be a significant problem. Use of mobile technologies may have the potential to transform care delivery across populations and within individuals over time. However, devices may need to be tailored to meet the specific patient needs.

Keywords: data collection; health apps; health promotion; informatics; mHealth; mobile health; self-monitoring.

MeSH terms

  • Accelerometry / instrumentation
  • Adult
  • Chronic Disease / therapy*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Humans
  • Mobile Applications / statistics & numerical data*
  • Monitoring, Physiologic / instrumentation
  • Monitoring, Physiologic / statistics & numerical data
  • Patient Compliance
  • Pilot Projects
  • Self Care
  • Self-Management*
  • Telemedicine / statistics & numerical data