Use of Mobile Phone in Healthcare: Readiness among Urban Population of Puducherry, India
Introduction: Use of mobile phones in planning of health care interventions is on the rise. Before planning of such interventions, it is essential to know about readiness among the target population. Objective(s): To identify the access to personal mobile phone, knowledge on usage in terms of making/receiving call/SMS and the willingness to use mobile phone as a medium for health communication among adults in an urban area of Puducherry, South India. Methodology: A community based cross-sectional study was conducted in two randomly selected areas out of the four in the urban field practice area of a medical college in Puducherry during July, 2014. Systematic random sampling was done to select 126 houses. All individuals above 18 years in those households were included. A pre-tested interview schedule was used to collect information. Association between socio-demographic factors and willingness to receive health tip through mobile phone was found using binary logistic regression. Results: Among 299 participants interviewed, 227(75.9%) had personal mobile phones; 229 (76.6%), 128 (42.8%) and 131 (43.8%), were able to receive and make a call, read SMS, and text SMS respectively. Nearly 50% were willing to receive health information through mobile phones. Of these, 67.5% were willing to receive through call/SMS and 35.5% only through calls. On multivariate binary logistic analysis, individuals having personal mobile and younger age were found to be willing to receive health information through mobile phones. Conclusion: Three in every five individuals having personal mobile were willing to receive health information through mobile with most of them preferring call/SMS over only call.