Mobile Health Technology Is Here—But Are Hospice Informal Caregivers Receptive?

Veerawat Phongtankuel, Ariel Shalev, Ronald D. Adelman, Richard Dewald, Ritchell Dignam, Rosemary Baughn, Holly G. Prigerson, Jeanne Teresi, Sara J. Czaja, M. Carrington Reid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background: Mobile health applications (mHealth apps) represent a rapidly emerging technology that is being used to improve health-care delivery. In home hospice, informal caregivers play an essential role in attending to the day-to-day needs of their terminally ill loved ones. Using mHealth apps by caregivers in this setting could potentially improve the support provided to both patients and caregivers at the end of life (EoL). Objectives: To explore informal caregivers’ receptivity and concerns in using mHealth apps along with app features, caregivers perceived to be most useful in home hospice care. Design: Eighty semistructured phone interviews were conducted with informal caregivers who received care from a nonprofit hospice organization. Study data were analyzed using content analysis, coding for themes of receptivity and interest. Results: Sixty-two (78%) participants were receptive to using an mHealth app in home hospice care. Informal caregivers were interested in features that addressed: (1) communication to improve patient care (n = 44, 70%), (2) access to patient care information (n = 30, 48%), (3) education (n = 24, 39%), and (4) updates from health-care personnel and scheduling services (n = 10, 16%). Conclusions: A substantial majority of informal caregivers voiced receptivity to using mHealth apps and expressed interest in features that enhance communication and provide information to improve patient care. Although more research is needed to examine how to incorporate this technology into existing home hospice care, our study suggests that informal caregivers are likely to use this technology they feel will help enhance home-based EoL care delivery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1547-1552
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018


  • caregiving
  • end of life
  • hospice
  • mHealth
  • technology
  • telemedicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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