246384 Using Mobile Phones for Health Promotion

Monday, October 31, 2011: 8:45 AM

Lorien Abroms, ScD , School of Public Health and Health Services, George Washington University, Washington, DC
Much of the appeal of using mobile phones for health promotion stems from the ability to send instantaneous text messages, which can reach people throughout the day as they go about their daily life activities. Smartphones offer the possibility of not only text messaging, but health promotion programs that can make use of email, games, multimedia (e.g. music, video), social networking, GPS functionality, and an assortment of other capabilities. With text messaging, there is an emerging body of evidence which supports its use for health behavior change in the areas of smoking cessation, weight loss, physical activity and diabetes management. Many of these text messaging programs work by sending automated texts with health advice and information; having users set goals and/or track activities; giving feedback on goals met and progress made, offering reminders, and in some cases, providing social support. Very little is known about the efficacy of smartphones and their associated applications for health promotion. Many basic questions remain unanswered for mobile health promotion, including the identification of theoretical models that are best suited for guiding mobile program development; the types of health promotion activities that are best supported by text messages and mobile applications; the appropriate dose of text messages to promote behavior change; and the ways in which the many features of mobile phones, especially smartphones, can most effectively be utilized. Future studies are warranted across mobile platforms which include the development and testing of new theory-based programs for health promotion.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Communication and informatics
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Provision of health care to the public

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe current applications of mobile phones for health promotion. 2. Describe the evidence base which supports the use of mobile phones for health promotion. 3. Describe areas where future research is needed.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified because I develop and evaluate mobile health promotion programs.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.