Evaluating the Potential Use of Smartphone Apps for Diabetes Self-Management in an Underserved Population: A Qualitative Approach
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Health disparities cause a higher rate of diabetes development in poor and minority groups and also limit the care these people receive. Smartphone applications (apps) may be a low-cost, accessible resource to patients with diabetes who experience barriers to traditional health care. Currently, little is known about using health apps to help underserved patients in the United States. This study aimed to investigate the willingness to use diabetes apps in patients with limited access to primary
... are providers. Fifteen personal interviews were collected and analyzed according to the interpretative phenomenological analysis framework. The interviews produced three overall themes: (1) Despite having little previous knowledge about health apps, patients were all willing to try at least one diabetes-related app; (2) app functions should be individualized to each patient's needs for maximum benefit; and (3) barriers to app use were varied but commonly included knowledge and technological challenges and security issues. Underserved patients with diabetes expressed a willingness to try health apps, despite limited experience with the technology. Choosing apps individualized to each patient's needs, instead of a blanket multifunctional app, would provide the greatest benefit for patient-driven diabetes management. Smartphone apps may be a feasible, low-cost resource for patients with limited access to traditional healthcare.