Mobile healthcare and people with disabilities: Current state and future needs

Peer-reviewed article
(2018 Mar) International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 15 515


Jones, M., Morris, J. & Deruyter, F.


Significant health disparities exist between the general population and people with disabilities, particularly with respect to chronic health conditions. Mobile healthcare—the delivery of healthcare via mobile communication devices—is witnessing tremendous growth and has been touted as an important new approach for management of chronic health conditions. At present, little is known about the current state of mobile healthcare for people with disabilities. Early evidence suggests they are not well represented in the growth of mobile healthcare, and particularly the proliferation of mobile health software applications (mHealth apps) for smartphones. Their omission in mHealth could lead to further health disparities. This article describes our research investigating the current state of mHealth apps targeting people with disabilities. Based on a multi-modal approach (literature review, Internet search, survey of disabled smartphone users), we confirm that people with disabilities are under-represented in the growth of mHealth. We identify several areas of future research and development needed to support the inclusion of people with disabilities in the mHealth revolution. Keywords: people with disabilities; chronic health conditions; mobile healthcare; mHealth; software applications for smart phones; information and communication technologies