Mobile and connected health technology needs for older adults aging in place: Cross-Sectional survey study

Jing Wang, Yan Du, Deidra Coleman, Michelle Peck, Sahiti Myneni, Hong Kang, Yang Gong

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Background: An increasing number of mobile and wearable devices are available in the market. However, the extent to which these devices can be used to assist older adults to age in place remains unclear. Objective: This study aimed to assess older adults' perceptions of using mobile and connected health technologies. Methods: Using a cross-sectional design, a total of 51 participants were recruited from a senior community center. Demographics and usage of mobile or wearable devices and online health communities were collected using a survey questionnaire. Descriptive statistics assessed usage of devices and online health communities. The Fisher exact test was used to examine the relationship between technology usage and having access to a smartphone. Results: The sample was primarily comprised non-Hispanic white (35/51, 69%), educated (39/51, 76% any college), and female (36/51, 71%) participants, with an average age of 70 (SD 8) years. All participants were insured and nearly all lived at home (49/51, 94%). A total of 86% (44/51) of the participants had heard of wearable health devices, but only 18 out of 51 (35%) had ever used them. Over 80% (42/51) expressed interest in using such devices and were interested in tracking exercise and physical activity (46/51, 90%), sleep (38/51, 75%), blood pressure (34/51, 67%), diet (31/51, 61%), blood sugar (28/51, 55%), weight (26/51, 51%), and fall risk (23/51, 45%). The greatest concerns about using wearable devices were cost (31/51, 61%), safety (14/51, 28%), and privacy (13/51, 26%); one-fourth (12/51) reported having no concerns. They were mostly interested in sharing data from mobile and connected devices with their health care providers followed by family, online communities, friends, and no one. About 41% (21/51) of the older adults surveyed reported having ever heard of an online health community, and roughly 40% (20/51) of the participants reported being interested in joining such a community. Most participants reported having access to a smartphone (38/51, 74%), and those with such access were significantly more likely to show interest in using a wearable health device (P<.001) and joining an online health community (P=.05). Conclusions: Our findings suggest that, although few older adults are currently using mobile and wearable devices and connected health technologies for managing health, they are open to this idea and are mostly interested in sharing such data with their health care providers. Further studies are warranted to explore strategies to balance the data sharing preference of older adults and how to best integrate mobile and wearable device data with clinical workflow for health care providers to promote healthy aging in place.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number13864
JournalJMIR Aging
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2019


  • Aging in place
  • Connected health
  • Independent living
  • Mobile health
  • Remote monitoring
  • Wearable technology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Gerontology
  • Health Informatics


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