Technology use and perspectives of mHealth from patients undergoing bariatric surgery: A mixed methods study

Miss Rebecca Healy1, Dr  Jaimon Kelly2,3, Dr Kyra  Hamilton5, Dr Katrina  Campbell1,2,3, Ms Jane Musial1, Ms Charlene  Wright2,3

1Metro North Hospital and Health Services, Brisbane, Australia, 2Menzies Health Institute, Griffith University , Gold Coast, Australia, 3School of Medicine, Centre of Applied Health Economics, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia, 4Healthcare Excellence and Innovation, Metro North HHS, Brisbane, Australia, 5School of Applied Psychology, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia

Background: Mobile health (mHealth) is an effective tool for providing routine care, reinforcement of educational content and self- monitoring for patients requiring allied health services.

Aims: To gain insight into the barriers to accessing in-person care, preferences for the delivery of health information, current technology use, and acceptability of mHealth services in patients undergoing bariatric surgery.

Methods: This mixed methods study recruited participants from a tertiary hospital via survey (n=102) and in-depth interview (n=15). Quantitative analysis was conducted using SPSS and qualitative analysis via inductive content analysis in NVivo.

Results: Barriers to attending in-person appointments were identified by one-third of participants (n=38, 37%), including parking (n=17, 45%), travel time (n=16, 42%), and time off work (n=15, 40%). Majority of participants managed post-operative dietary changes with in-person support (n=13, 87%); however, were also willing to engage with email (n=92, 90%), text messages (n=87, 83%), and phone calls (n=85, 83%). Predominant challenges included the need for more psychosocial support (n=8, 53%) and navigating online health communities and mobile applications. Qualitative themes identified include: Attributing success to existing resources; Motivated and able to access digital health; Turning to Online Health Communities; Seeing a place for mHealth in service delivery; and Future vision for care delivery.

Conclusion:C Patients are accepting of mHealth as an adjunct to routine care and as a method of overcoming the barrier of in-person appointment attendance.  Identified challenges include the need for more psychosocial support and providing options including familiar technology.


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