Currently submitted to: JMIR mHealth and uHealth
Date Submitted: Jun 19, 2019
Open Peer Review Period: Jun 19, 2019 - Jun 27, 2019
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Development and Use of a Mobile Texting App ‘Heptalk’: Its Efficacy in Patient Engagement in Viral Hepatitis B Care
Chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is a major cause of liver-related morbidity and mortality among Asian Americans in the U.S. population. Despite the available resources, a majority of HBV infected individuals are not able to access adequate health care owing to numerous barriers.
This study was designed to assess the efficacy of a newly developed mobile texting app ‘heptalk’ to overcome these barriers and to help engage HBV infected and non-immune individuals to health access.
A mobile texting app heptalk was employed for a two-way communication between patients and patient navigators (PNs). A total of 82 Korean-American participants who were either HBV infected or non-immune to HBV were enrolled for the study. After informed consent was obtained, both the frequency and themes of the texting messages were evaluated. The effects of these communications on the linkage to care (LTC) at the end of the six-month intervention period were analyzed and discussed.
On average, PNs sent and received 14 and 8 messages per participant, respectively, during the six-month period. The themes of the messages were similar with respect to the following four categories: finding providers, scheduling appointments with providers, health education, and financial issues. Of 82 participants, a total of 78 were linked to care within six months, a 95 % linkage rate.
A mobile texting app heptalk may be employed as an effective and strategic tool to facilitate communicative interaction between patients and PNs or healthcare providers (HCPs), thereby improving patient engagement and healthcare access.
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