ATTITUDES TOWARDS THE USE OF MOBILE HEALTH APPLICATIONS IN BULGARIA
Keywords:mHealth, mobile health applications, telemedicine
Background: The increasing use of mobile phones has offered an opportunity to improve the quality of health services, secure the accessibility of healthcare systems for a larger population and support patients in effective management of their health/chronic conditions.
Main Goal: The primary focus of the study in hand is to explore the different attitudes towards the use of mHealth in Bulgaria and to examine the extensive use of mobile health applications for the supervision, prevention and containment of various socially relevant diseases, including the promotion of healthy lifestyles.
Materials and methods: An online survey was conducted in the period between July 2019 and February 2020. Amongst the 976 people that were interviewed, 591 (60.6%) were females and 385 (39.4%) were males. The mean age of the respondents was 43.25 ± 0.755. A unique questionnaire was prepared for the collection of information regarding the usage of mobile health applications. Statistical analyses were carried out with the help of IBM SPSS Statistics, version 23. MS Excel 2016 was used for the graphical representation of the results.
Results: 89% of the participants possessed a mobile phone and an approximate 84% of them used mHealth applications. Besides this, the results suggested a considerable statistical difference in the respondents’ attitudes, in terms of their gender, where the deviation was in favour of female respondents. Additionally, findings revealed another statistical difference on the basis of their age and level of education. Furthermore, a huge majority claimed that they generally used these types of applications for monitoring their blood pressure or pulse.
Conclusion: The outcome of the study was that a significant number of respondents were already using or tended to use smartphones and various applications, including health ones. We expect that the results of this study will provide evidence of the essentiality of mobile health applications to be developed in Bulgaria. This is crucial for patients as this technology has the potential to open up several new possibilities for treatments and observations of diverse socially significant diseases.
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