A small-sample study has concluded that older, diverse, and low-income women found an mHealth app designed to aid in breast cancer risk assessment and advice easy to use and acceptable.

The findings were published in the Journal of Health Disparities Research Practices.

"Studies such as this are critical to understand how mHealth tools can be used effectively in diverse, low-income populations," said study co-author Elissa Ozanne, from the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer Center. "We need to design all tools, and particularly novel tools such as mHealth tools, with these populations in mind in order to ensure equitable access. This study identifies some of the barriers and benefits of using a mHealth tool in this low-income, diverse population."

Also See: Weill Cornell, Sloan Kettering Launch Personalized Breast Cancer Site

The study found 11 of 15 women, aged 45-79 years, interviewed before and after using the mHealth tool – a breast health questionnaire app designed by the Athena Breast Health Network – preferred it to a paper tool and found it easy to use. Variations in opinions are discussed for women with limited mobile phone experience, and for women whose first language is Spanish. Many suggested it is essential that staff be available to explain the mHealth tool and troubleshoot any problems.

"In general, we found this population preferred using a mHealth app to a paper format," Ozanne said. "They found it more enjoyable than the paper format, easy to use, and were able to learn how to use it quickly."

The study is available here.

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