Background: Emerging mHealth technologies, like wrist worn PA monitors, offer potential for targeting CV health behaviors among at-risk groups in community-based interventions. It is unknown whether technology fluency impedes user adoption of such mHealth interventions.
Methods: A CV health evaluation designed using community-based participatory research principles was conducted in African American, faith-based organizations in Washington D.C. wards with the highest obesity rates (NCT01927783). Participants (n=100) underwent a CV health assessment at a community church and were trained to use an mHealth PA monitor for the ensuing 30-day period. Participants wirelessly uploaded PA data weekly to a data collection hub at a participating church and accessed data online. Users were participants with ≥1 days of data; non-users had zero days of data. A validated Computer-Email-Web fluency self-report instrument captured technology fluency, with skill levels from 1 (no fluency) to 5 (high fluency).
Results: Eighty-one participants were users (mean age=60, 78% female); 19 were non-users (mean age=57, 84% female). Users were more likely than non-users to report a lower household income (p=0.01). No differences were noted for computer access (94% vs 94%, p=0.2) or cell phone ownership (88% vs 89%, p=0.2). Technology fluency was similar, with all non-users and 95% of users reporting some level of technology fluency for the 17 surveyed skills (Table).
Conclusions: In African-American, faith-based communities in at-risk Washington D.C. areas, lower technology fluency does not appear to impede adoption of this mHealth PA-monitoring system, despite lower socioeconomic status among users. This relationship is likely explained by similar technology access among users and non-users. These findings suggest that an mHealth PA monitoring system using a data collection hub may facilitate a future PA intervention for improved CV health in an at-risk African American community, independent of the population’s technology fluency.