Rural Older Adult Readiness to Adopt Mobile Health Technology: A Descriptive Study


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to gain insight into the readiness of rural older adults to accept mobile health technology. Results will be useful in the design and delivery of mobile health technology to assist with health management, wellness interventions, and aging in place.

Sample: Convenience sampling was used to recruit 30 participants from two rural Northern California multipurpose senior centers.

Methods: Participants attended a demonstration and participated in a blood pressure screening using a mobile health device followed by a survey. Mixed methods of data collection were used to capture categorical data as well as contextual, socio-cultural, and experiential factors for understanding the potential for future use of mobile health technology by older adults in rural communities.

Results: Participants indicated they wanted control over their health data by choosing when and where to share the information, with the exception of alerts sent in a crisis situation. Results were evenly split on the importance of using technology to connect with patient education and support groups on-line. Important facilitators that would promote adoption of mobile health technology include ease of use, convenience, and affordability. Barriers to adoption include moderate concern with risk to the privacy and security of their health information, and high cost.

Conclusion: Mobile health technologies that are easy and convenient to use, affordable, and a good fit for each individual have the potential to facilitate patient engagement, patient empowerment, and individual responsibility for health and wellness. Additional nursing research on innovative models of care is needed to validate and promote mobile health technology for the health and aging in place needs of rural older adults. Rural nurse leaders can take the lead to innovatively leverage mHealth technology solutions that impact rural health and wellness.

Keywords: mHealth, Rural, Older Adults, Age in Place

DOI: 10.14574/ojrnhc.v15i1.346

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