Empirical Study on Online Health Information Seeking and Health App Usage
Keywords:Mobile health, smartphone, telemedicine, health apps, online health behaviors
Objective: This study aimed to examine Thai smartphone users in term of their online health information seeking and health apps usage behaviors.
Methods: The researchers conducted a cross-sectional survey of 203 smartphone users throughout Thailand. The 37-item survey assessed socio-demographics characteristics, multiple dimensions of peopleâ€™s health-information levels, experiences in finding health information online, reasons why people are using or not using the health apps, and perception towards paying for health information online.Â
Result: Most smartphone users had used internet to search for health information (193/203, 95.1%), but less than half (82/203, 40.4%) of those users had used health-related mobile applications. The most cited reasons why Thai people did not use health apps were not trusting the medical information, thinking that the apps were not useful, and worrying that their health information was insecure. Among the people who had used health app, the most common category was fitness/exercise apps, and diet calorie calculation apps. The cost of the apps was an important factor. Only 16.57% of users were willing to pay to use health services, while 23% mentioned that they would not use the app at all.Conclusion: While there are many health-apps available, most of Thai people still did not use health apps. The researchers believe that there are opportunities in the healthcare app services, particularly in the domain of medical knowledge providers. Developers who are interested in creating health apps should focus in medical information accuracy in order to earn users trust in the applications.
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