The use of mobile technology to support the achievement of health goals – may include voice and short message services (text messaging), global positioning systems (GPS) and bluetooth technology, as well as portable devices that allow the user to monitor and inform about specific health measures as behaviors to improve health.
“Over the last decade, mobile health technology, especially the worthy markets for technology for mobile health applications, has grown significantly,” said Erica N. Schorr, Ph.D., chairwoman of the BSBA, RN, FAHA, a university Professor of Cooperative for Adult and Gerontological Health at the University of Minnesota School of Nursing.
Schorr added, “However, there is a common misconception that use of mobile health technology is lower among older adults, as in fact most Americans 60 years and older have a mobile phone and spend a significant amount of free time in front of a screen. This statement highlights the potential benefits that mobile health interventions can provide for the control, stimulation, stimulation and education of older adults with cardiovascular disease. “
An estimated two-thirds of all people with heart disease are 60 years and older, and the prevalence of physical activity decreases with aging, especially in people with heart disease.
People who have experienced a major cardiac event, such as a heart attack or stroke, are at 20 times the risk of future cardiac events compared to people without heart disease, so more research is needed to identify strategies to prevent the progression of heart disease to slow down – secondary prevention strategies – in this population.
The scientific statement highlighted research from 26 studies from the past 11 years that examined mobile health technology for secondary heart disease prevention in adults 60 and older with pre-existing heart disease.
Studies that included text messages and website resource information showed improvements in people’s physical activity and other changes in lifestyle behavior after three months of enrollment and led to an increase in drug treatment among student participants.
Significant improvements in medication adherence were also noted in some trials when student participants used a mobile app or received a reminder for text messages. A large systematic review showed that successful mobile health interventions often include personalized, two-way messaging.
“We know that controlling blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol are essential secondary prevention strategies and often require medication management,” Schorr added.
Schorr added, “Reducing sitting time, increasing physical activity, maintaining an optimal body weight and adopting a healthy diet are other important lifestyle strategies to optimize the health of people with cardiovascular disease.
Wearable devices and mobile devices and applications play an important role, as they can help individuals monitor and track health behaviors and risk factors for heart disease, referred to as the AHA’s Life’s Simple 7, to reduce their risk of a cardiac event and to achieve ideal cardiovascular health. “
In the age group of 60 and older, research indicates that the ease of use of a program or app is a major factor in that group’s willingness to use a device, service, or application.
In the studies where participants visited apps, more than half of the users reported that they were easy to operate. However, the authors of the statement indicate that many of the studies enrolled a small number of people, and the apps were aimed at a very specific use, which limited external validity.
There were some other limitations in the present study. Although the results for studies with a text messaging component were positive, it did not focus only on older adults, making it difficult to determine the impact of specific text messages for older adults with heart disease.
In addition, differences between groups based on race, ethnicity, gender, and age were not measured. A few of the identified studies made a comparison between behavioral interventions with mobile health technology versus behavioral interventions without technology, so that the results are unknown relative to traditional interventions.
The Commission for Writing Statement noted that there are challenges and barriers to mobile health use among older adults. People in under-represented racial and ethnic groups use technology less frequently, and some older adults are concerned about safety, costs, and privacy issues.
There may also be cognitive, physical, visual and hearing limitations that may affect an older adult’s ability to use technology. Some older adults prefer personal visits to health care professionals because technology can be considered isolating.
However, research has shown that adults who engage in technology can actually become more connected to others and make small, yet meaningful changes in lifestyle and behavior that can help improve their health.
Schorr added that there are still important questions to be answered about which mobile interventions and technologies for health would be most effective and accepted, and how best to use them to see clinically meaningful changes in secondary cardiovascular prevention in older adults.
“Answering these questions is critical to identifying and implementing effective, widely accepted, cost-effective and time-efficient mobile interventions that improve health outcomes for older adults,” she said. (ANI)