Preliminary needs assessment of mobile technology use for healthcare among homeless veterans
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
: 11:10 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
OBJECTIVES: We explored homeless persons' access to and use of information technologies (IT), and their attitudes toward using technologies to communicate with health care providers. METHODS: Semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted with 30 homeless veterans. Topics included life priorities, health concerns, use of mobile phones and computers, and perceptions of health-related uses of mobile phones and other IT. RESULTS: Most participants had a mobile phone (90%), used the Internet (70%), and had an email address (72%). Common uses included connecting with family and friends, looking for work, and finding a place to stay. Attitudes toward IT for health-related communication were positive. Participants felt mobile-phone calls or text messages could be used to remind patients of medical appointments, prescription refills, medication taking, and returning for laboratory test results. Participants valued electronic reminders because their lives were disorganized and they had many competing life priorities. They also supported mobile phone caring outreach text messages or calls, i.e. communication from health providers asking how a person is doing. CONCLUSIONS: Most homeless veterans use IT and would be willing to use it for health care. They approve of health clinics communicating with patients via mobile phone, including text messaging. Because homeless persons have many pressing life challenges, even relatively serious health issues may be neglected until a crisis emerges. Mobile technology-assisted outreach from health providers may help prioritize health among this population and lead to improved engagement in care. This could improve overall health and reduce repeated episodes of homelessness common in the population.
Chronic disease management and prevention
Communication and informatics
Describe homeless persons’ access to and use of information technologies.
Discuss homeless persons’ attitudes toward using information technologies to communicate with health care providers.
Explain barriers to homeless persons’ use of information technologies.
Assess whether mobile phones and other technologies are appropriate tools for linking and engaging homeless persons in health care.
Keyword(s): Information Technology, Homeless Health Care
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a research investigator with federally funded grants focusing on access to care for homelss persons, with an emphasis on using information technologies to improve linkage to care for homeless veterans.
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.