Certified Peer Specialists’ Perspective of the Barriers and Facilitators to Mobile Health Engagement
Fortuna KL, Muralidharan A, Goldstein CM, et al.
To advance current knowledge, researchers
surveyed certified peer specialists (PS) with
serious mental illness (SMI) for their perceptions
of the barriers to and facilitators of mobile health
(mHealth) engagement among adults with SMI.
Researchers recruited adult certified PS with SMI
(n = 267) through web, email, and print newsletter
ads to participate in a 20-minute online survey of
perspectives on barriers to and facilitators of
mHealth engagement among adults with SMI. The
survey, developed with input from other certified
PS, comprised 12 quantitative questions on
difficulties of using smartphones and tablets and
three open-ended qualitative questions on app
and tablet use and motivators of use. Researchers
conducted statistical analysis of quantitative
survey data and thematic analysis of open-ended
responses from participants who completed the
full survey (n = 74, representing 18 states).
The most frequently reported perceived barrier to mHealth engagement was the unaffordability of a smartphone and a data plan.
Certified PS expressed the concern that, unless designed appropriately, mHealth interventions may isolate adult users with SMI who are already at risk of social isolation.
Supplementing mHealth interventions with support from certified PS may improve engagement among adult users with SMI, a previously unidentified facilitator.
Certified PS appeared to prefer using tablets over smartphones for mHealth interventions.
To avoid exacerbating social isolation and loneliness among adults with SMI, mHealth interventions may better serve as an augment to traditional mental health services.
Integrating perspectives of certified PS into mHealth development may promote initial and sustained mHealth engagement among adult endusers with SMI.
Future research could use implementation science frameworks to examine whether these perceived barriers to and facilitators of mHealth engagement correlate with and/or predict mHealth engagement among adults with SMI.