Health and information disparities among non-adopters of smartphones

Ling Na, Jiunn Jye Sheu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: Mobile health technologies have gained increasing popularity in the healthcare industry, even though inequity in their adoptions has been documented. This study aimed to describe sociodemographic and clinical vulnerabilities among non-adopters of smartphones, identify their alternative ways of seeking health information, and explore potential outreach venues to these individuals. Methods: Smartphone users, basic cell phone users, and nonusers of mobile devices were identified from the 2019 Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS). The three groups were compared on sociodemographic and clinical characteristics. Their health information seeking outcomes were compared in latent factor models, path models, and multinomial regression models. Results: Compared to smartphone users, the nonusers were more likely to be older, less educated, have lower income, speak English less well, have a chronic condition, report poorer health, have lower self-care efficacy, and less likely to have family and friends to talk about their health. In the covariate adjusted models for health information seeking characteristics, compared to smartphone users, basic cell phone users and nonusers of mobile devices showed persistent disparities (less tendency) in search of health information with technology (p's<.001) and access to online medical records (p's <.01). Nonusers of smartphones were more likely to report no internet access and feeling uncomfortable with computers as the reasons not to access online medical records. Conclusion: mHealth technologies may create additional barriers to health equity in the absence of equitable distributions of socioeconomic resources and access to mobile devices and the Internet. Education and training are warranted to make technology beneficial to the vulnerable population.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100600
JournalHealth Policy and Technology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Mar

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Health Policy


Dive into the research topics of 'Health and information disparities among non-adopters of smartphones'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this