Older Adults Willing To Use Mobile Health Tools, but Barriers Remain

While many older individuals are open to using mobile activity trackers, long-term adoption is hindered by physical discomfort, complicated applications and other issues, according to a study released by AARP, FierceMobileHealthcare reports.

Details of the Study

For the study, AARP Project Catalyst and the Georgia Tech HomeLab provided 92 consumers ages 50 and older with one of seven brand-name activity-tracking devices. Participants were asked to use the device continuously for six weeks.

The study evaluated how the participants used and felt about mobile tools for:

  • Collecting and reporting health care-related data, such as heart rate; and
  • Tracking activities, such as sleep or caloric intake.

Study Findings

The researchers found that:

  • 71% of the study participants reported increased awareness of activity, sleep or eating habits (Mottl, FierceMobileHealthcare, 7/18);
  • 67% found the activity and sleep tracker to be beneficial or valuable (AARP release, 7/14);
  • 46% said using the tracker led to an increase in activity levels; and   
  • 42% said they would continue using such devices.

However, many stopped using the trackers before the study ended, citing:

  • Challenges in finding and using instructions;
  • Data inaccuracy;
  • Device malfunctions or data syncing issues; and
  • Difficulties in attaching and wearing the devices.

The authors said, "Participants who did not find the devices to be useful said that they wanted more data related to their specific conditions and that they wanted notification if the data indicated something of concern."

They added, "More sensors relevant to health conditions was the most common suggestion for improvement" (FierceMobileHealthcare, 7/18).

Source: iHealthBeat, Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Usability People work with you on improving the Usability of Healthcare IT.

The Usability People
Together we may save a life! #SafeHealthIT