Usability and Acceptability of Everhealthier Women, a Mobile Application to Enhance Informed Health Choices

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Objective:To explore women's use and acceptance of Everhealthier Women, a mobile health (mHealth) application (app) designed to provide women with easy access to preventive health information and to promote adherence to life-saving clinical screenings and disease prevention behaviors.Design:Qualitative descriptive study.Setting:A Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) office in a large Northeastern U.S. city.Participants:Fifteen low-income women ages 18 to 30 years who used WIC services.Methods:Participants completed a baseline survey regarding their use of technology to obtain health information. Next, they received an introductory session to Everhealthier Women on a mobile device by a study staff member and individually explored the app. Afterward, they completed a questionnaire in the waiting room to assess their initial views on the acceptability and usefulness of the app. Participants were then contacted over a period of 3 weeks to elicit feedback about their app use through a series of open-ended questions. Descriptive statistics were calculated, and content analysis was performed.Results:Fourteen of the 15 participants reported using the Internet to search for health information in the past. Seven participants had used mHealth apps, and 14 believed that Everhealthier Women was easy to navigate and beneficial for women of all ages. They reported being more likely to use the app if it was recommended by a friend or health care provider. The app was mainly used to search for health information and set appointment reminders.Conclusion:mHealth apps can be powerful public health tools; however, evidence should inform their development. Research about specific apps, such as Everhealthier Women, advances our knowledge about the benefits of mHealth and implementation challenges and could inform stakeholders of the optimal level of investment in new technologies. Consideration of financial, time, and personal constraints is needed to evaluate the use of mHealth apps by economically disadvantaged populations.

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