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World Journal of Emergency Medicine ›› 2020, Vol. 11 ›› Issue (1): 5-11.doi: 10.5847/wjem.j.1920-8642.2020.01.001

Special Issue: Survey on Emergency Medicine

• Original Articles •     Next Articles

Mobile technology: Usage and perspective of patients and caregivers presenting to a tertiary care emergency department

Zhenghong Liu1(), Mingwei Ng1, Dinesh V. Gunasekeran2, Huihua Li3, Kishanti Ponampalam4, R Ponampalam5   

  1. 1 SingHealth Emergency Medicine Residency Programme, Singapore Health Services, Singapore
    2 Ministry of Health Holdings, Singapore
    3 Health Services Research Unit, Singapore General Hospital, Singapore
    4 University of Newcastle, Australia
    5 Department of Emergency Medicine, Singapore General Hospital, Singapore
  • Received:2019-05-15 Accepted:2019-08-20 Online:2020-01-01 Published:2020-01-01
  • Contact: Zhenghong Liu


BACKGROUND: Developments in information technology (IT) have driven a push in healthcare innovation in the emergency department (ED). Many of these applications rely on mobile technology (MT) such as smartphones but not everyone is comfortable with MT usage. Our study aims to characterize the technology usage behavior of users in the ED so as to guide the implementation of IT interventions in the ED.

METHODS: A cross-sectional survey was conducted in the emergency department of a tertiary hospital. Patients and their caregivers aged 21 and above were recruited. The survey collected demographic information, technology usage patterns, and participant reported comfort level in the usage of MT. We performed descriptive statistics and multivariate logistic regression to identify factors differentially associated with comfort in usage of MT.

RESULTS: A total of 498 participants were recruited, and 299 (60%) were patients. English was the most commonly written and read language (66.9%) and 64.2% reported a comfort level of 3/5 or more in using MT. Factors that were associated with being comfortable in using MT include having a tertiary education, being able to read and write English, as well as being a frequent user of IT. Caregivers were more likely to display these characteristics.

CONCLUSION: A large proportion of ED patients are not comfortable in the usage of MT. Factors that predicted comfort level in the usage of MT were common amongst caregivers. Future interventions should take this into consideration in the design of MT interventions.

Key words: Mobile health technology, Information technology, Emergency department