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Department of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences

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Cardiology | Cardiovascular Diseases | Epidemiology | Health Information Technology | Health Services Research


BACKGROUND: Heart failure (HF) is a highly prevalent chronic condition that places a substantial burden on patients, families, and health care systems worldwide. Recent advances in mobile health (mHealth) technologies offer great opportunities for supporting many aspects of HF self-care. There is a need to better understand patients' adoption of and interest in using mHealth for self-monitoring and management of HF symptoms.

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study is to assess smartphone ownership and patient attitudes toward using mHealth technologies for HF self-care in a predominantly minority population in an urban clinical setting.

METHODS: We conducted a cross-sectional survey of adult outpatients (aged > /=18 years) at an academic outpatient HF clinic in the Midwest. The survey comprised 34 questions assessing patient demographics, ownership of smartphones and other mHealth devices, frequently used smartphone features, use of mHealth apps, and interest in using mHealth technologies for vital sign and HF symptom self-monitoring and management.

RESULTS: A total of 144 patients were approached, of which 100 (69.4%) participated in the study (63/100, 63% women). The participants had a mean age of 61.3 (SD 12.25) years and were predominantly Black or African American (61/100, 61%) and Hispanic or Latino (18/100, 18%). Almost all participants (93/100, 93%) owned a cell phone. The share of patients who owned a smartphone was 68% (68/100). Racial and ethnic minorities that identified as Black or African American or Hispanic or Latino reported higher smartphone ownership rates compared with White patients with HF (45/61, 74% Black or African American and 11/18, 61% Hispanic or Latino vs 9/17, 53% White). There was a moderate and statistically significant association between smartphone ownership and age (Cramer V [PhiC]=0.35; P < .001), education (PhiC=0.29; P=.001), and employment status (PhiC=0.3; P=.01). The most common smartphone features used by the participants were SMS text messaging (51/68, 75%), internet browsing (43/68, 63%), and mobile apps (41/68, 60%). The use of mHealth apps and wearable activity trackers (eg, Fitbits) for self-monitoring of HF-related parameters was low (15/68, 22% and 15/100, 15%, respectively). The most popular HF-related self-care measures participants would like to monitor using mHealth technologies were physical activity (46/68, 68%), blood pressure (44/68, 65%), and medication use (40/68, 59%).

CONCLUSIONS: Most patients with HF have smartphones and are interested in using commercial mHealth apps and connected health devices to self-monitor their condition. Thus, there is a great opportunity to capitalize on the high smartphone ownership among racial and ethnic minority patients to increase reach and enhance HF self-management through mHealth interventions.


heart failure, mHealth, mobile phone, self-care, self-management, smartphone

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Copyright © Jonathan W Leigh, Ben S Gerber, Christopher P Gans, Mayank M Kansal, Spyros Kitsiou. Originally published in JMIR Cardio (, 14.01.2022. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work, first published in JMIR Cardio, is properly cited. The complete bibliographic information, a link to the original publication on, as well as this copyright and license information must be included.

DOI of Published Version



Leigh JW, Gerber BS, Gans CP, Kansal MM, Kitsiou S. Smartphone Ownership and Interest in Mobile Health Technologies for Self-care Among Patients With Chronic Heart Failure: Cross-sectional Survey Study. JMIR Cardio. 2022 Jan 14;6(1):e31982. doi: 10.2196/31982. PMID: 35029533; PMCID: PMC8800088. Link to article on publisher's site

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JMIR cardio

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.