Assessment of Heart Failure Patients' Interest in Mobile Health Apps for Self-Care: Survey Study

JMIR Cardio. 2019 Oct 29;3(2):e14332. doi: 10.2196/14332.


Background: Heart failure is a serious public health concern that afflicts millions of individuals in the United States. Development of behaviors that promote heart failure self-care may be imperative to reduce complications and avoid hospital re-admissions. Mobile health solutions, such as activity trackers and smartphone apps, could potentially help to promote self-care through remote tracking and issuing reminders.

Objective: The objective of this study was to ascertain heart failure patients' interest in a smartphone app to assist them in managing their treatment and symptoms and to determine factors that influence their interest in such an app.

Methods: In the clinic waiting room on the day of their outpatient clinic appointments, 50 heart failure patients participated in a self-administered survey. The survey comprised 139 questions from previously published, institutional review board-approved questionnaires. The survey measured patients' interest in and experience using technology as well as their function, heart failure symptoms, and heart failure self-care behaviors. The Minnesota Living with Heart Failure Questionnaire (MLHFQ) was among the 11 questionnaires and was used to measure the heart failure patients' health-related quality of life through patient-reported outcomes.

Results: Participants were aged 64.5 years on average, 32% (16/50) of the participants were women, and 91% (41/45) of the participants were determined to be New York Heart Association Class II or higher. More than 60% (30/50) of the survey participants expressed interest in several potential features of a smartphone app designed for heart failure patients. Participant age correlated negatively with interest in tracking, tips, and reminders in multivariate regression analysis (P<.05). In contrast, MLHFQ scores (worse health status) produced positive correlations with these interests (P<.05).

Conclusions: The majority of heart failure patients showed interest in activity tracking, heart failure symptom management tips, and reminder features of a smartphone app. Desirable features and an understanding of factors that influence patient interest in a smartphone app for heart failure self-care may allow researchers to address common concerns and to develop apps that demonstrate the potential benefits of mobile technology.

Keywords: heart failure; mHealth; patient monitoring; patient-reported outcome; self-care.