Online Program

Perceptions, attitudes, and experience regarding mHealth among homeless in New York City shelters

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 : 1:10 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Ramin Asgary, MD, MPH, Dept of Medicine, Weill Cornell College of Medicine and New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY
Blanca Sckell, MD, MPH, Community Medicine Program, Lutheran Family Health Centers, Brooklyn, NY
Analena Alcabes, BS, Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY
Ramesh Naderi, MD, NYU School of Medicine, New York
Phillip Adongo, Department of Social and Behavioral Science, University Of Ghana, Accra, Ghana
Gbenga Ogedegbe, MD, MS, MPH, FACP, Department of Population Health, New York University Langone Medical Center, New York, NY
Mobile health may be an effective means of providing access and education to the millions of homeless Americans. We conducted semi-structured interviews with 50 homeless from different shelters in New York City (NYC) to evaluate their perceptions, attitudes and experiences regarding mobile health. Participants’ average age was 51.66 (SD±11.34) years; duration of homelessness was 2.0 (SD±3.10) years.  The majority had a mobile phone with the ability to receive and send text messages. Most participants attempted to maintain the same phone number over time. The homeless were welcoming and supportive of text messaging regarding healthcare issues including appointment reminders, health education, or management of diseases considering their barriers and mobility, and believed it would help them access necessary healthcare. Overwhelmingly they preferred text reminders that were short, positively framed, and directive in nature compared to lengthy or motivational texts. The majority believed that free cell phone plans would improve their engagement with, help them navigate, and ultimately improve their access to care. These positive attitudes and experience could be effectively used to improve the homeless healthcare. Policies to improve access to mobile health and adapted text messaging strategies regarding healthcare needs of this mobile population should be considered.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Evaluate perceptions, attitudes and experience of the homeless regarding mobile health technologies and strategies Discuss mHealth methods to mitigate healthcare barriers and address health disparities among homeless

Keyword(s): Health Disparities/Inequities, Homelessness

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I designed and conducted this research and analyzed data and prepared the abstract. I have extensive experience working with and researching homeless population
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.