Frequency of In-Home Internet Use Among Prekidney and Postkidney Transplant Patients—Facilitators and Barriers to Use and Trends Over Time

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Abstract

Background

As health-related communications become digitized, strategies to increase adoption of these Web-based platforms are needed. The purpose of this study was to assess facilitators and barriers to in-home Internet use among prekidney and postkidney transplant patients.

Methods

A single center, cross-sectional survey of 240 consecutive patients of all levels of technological proficiency who presented to an urban transplant center in the United States. The Patient Information and Technology Assessment consists of 6 demographic questions, 3 disease-related questions, and 8 technology-related questions.

Results

Much of the sample was African American, male with a mean age of 51 years, and median income of $53 800/year. Logistic regression analysis was undertaken, and after adjusting for covariates, we found Smartphone ownership (odds ratio [OR], 4.94; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.32-10.52), a higher number of Internet users in the home (OR, 2.00; 95% CI, 1.11-3.62), and having college education and beyond (OR, 4.88; 95% CI, 2.03-11.74) increased the likelihood of being a frequent Internet user. African American or Hispanic/Latino patients were less likely to be frequent Internet users compared with white patients (OR, 0.26 and 0.24, respectively, compared with whites, all P < 0.05). As the total number of people in the household increased, frequent Internet use decreased (OR, 0.52; 95% CI, 0.29-0.92). As age increased, reports of frequent Internet use decreased.

Conclusions

Lower rates of Internet use among African Americans and Hispanic/Latinos in urban areas in the United States remains a problem despite a significant increase in access to the Internet and Smartphone ownership. The finding that Internet use increases as the number of Internet users in the household increases indicates that leveraging the patient’s social support network and/or the development of patient information champion programs may aid with patient’s adoption of health technology and patient engagement in self-care.

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