Interviewing women at a breast-imaging center in an urban safety net institution before and after they used a "mHealth" mobile health app on a tablet, Elissa Ozanne, PhD from Dartmouth's Norris Cotton Cancer Center and colleagues concluded that older, diverse, and low income women found it easy to use and acceptable. Published in the Journal of Health Disparities Research Practices, the paper with these findings is "Can mHealth Improve Risk Assessment in Underserved Populations? Acceptability of a Breast Health Questionnaire App in Ethnically Diverse, Older, Low-Income Women."
"Studies such as this are critical to understand how mHealth tools can be used effectively in diverse, low-income populations," said Ozanne. "We need to design all tools, and particularly novel tools such as mHealth tools, with these populations in mind in order to ensure equitable access. This study identifies some of the barriers and benefits of using an mHealth tool in this low-income, diverse population."
Ozanne's work reports that 11 of the 15 women, aged 45-79 years, interviewed before and after using the mHealth tool preferred it to a paper tool and found it easy to use. Variations in opinions are discussed for women with limited mobile phone experience, and for women whose first language is Spanish. Many suggested it is essential that staff be available to explain the mHealth tool and troubleshoot any problems.
"In general, we found this population preferred using an mHealth app to a paper format," explained Ozanne. "They found it more enjoyable than the paper format, easy to use, and were able to learn how to use it quickly."
Looking forward, Ozanne continues to examine the validity and reliability of data collected using mHealth tools in this population to ensure that the methods can be used effectively in clinical settings.
Ozanne is Associate Professor of Health Policy & Clinical Practice at Dartmouth's Geisel School of Medicine, and of the Dartmouth Institute. At Dartmouth's Norris Cotton Cancer Center, Ozanne is a member of the Cancer Control Research Program.
"Can mHealth Improve Risk Assessment in Underserved Populations? Acceptability of a Breast Health Questionnaire App in Ethnically Diverse, Older, Low-Income Women." was funded by the University of California at San Francisco Center for Aging in Diverse Communities grant P30-AG15272 under the Resource Centers for Minority Aging Research program of the National Institute on Aging.
About Dartmouth-Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer Center
Norris Cotton Cancer Center combines advanced cancer research at Dartmouth and the Geisel School of Medicine with patient-centered cancer care provided at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, NH, at Dartmouth-Hitchcock regional locations in Manchester, Nashua, and Keene, NH, and St. Johnsbury, VT, and at 12 partner hospitals throughout New Hampshire and Vermont. It is one of 41 centers nationwide to earn the National Cancer Institute's "Comprehensive Cancer Center" designation. Learn more about Norris Cotton Cancer Center research, programs, and clinical trials online at cancer.dartmouth.edu.