Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) are working to meet a national mandate to have meaningful use of electronic health records by 2014 which includes engaging patients in their healthcare. By integrating mobile technologic solutions that consider patient preferences towards MT, healthcare providers will be able to develop effective, efficient, and sustainable HIT programs to improve patient outcomes. The goal of this study was to gain a deeper understanding of how best to activate patients in underserved populations to use mobile technology (MT) to improve their health and communication with their healthcare providers. A survey study was performed with a convenience sample of one hundred patients who were seeking care at a FQHC in the mid-west. Participants age 18 and over filled out a 14-item questionnaire exploring their typical use of mobile phones, email, and the Internet as well as their preferences for future use of MT for supporting access to healthcare and communication with their healthcare providers. Data was collected on what types of information patients wanted between office visits, patient’s chronic health conditions, and patient demographics. The majority of participants said they would check appointment availability using either the Internet or their mobile phone (69%) and would be willing to receive information from their care providers via text message (67%) or email (60%) providing healthcare information or appointment reminders. Most patients have access to and are interested in using MT to communicate with providers outside of clinic time to improve personal health and access to care. We believe MT can empower patients in underserved populations to make informed healthcare decisions, receive more timely care, and improve their experience as a patient. Our research helps identify preferences for use of MT and gives direction for future research aimed at designing technologies to meet the needs of patients in underserved populations.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/shannon_johnson/37/