Older people with access to hand-held devices: Who are they?

Armin Shahrokni, Sanam Mahmoudzadeh, Ramyar Saeedi, Hassan Ghasemzadeh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Introduction: Multiple comorbid conditions among older patients require frequent physician office and emergency room visits, at times leading to hospitalization. In recent years, mobile health (m-health) systems utilizing hand-held devices (e.g., smartphones) have been developed, which could be used for health-related interventions. This study investigates sociodemographic and clinical characteristics of individuals who have or have not accessed Internet via hand-held devices. Materials and Methods: Adults older than 65 years of age who participated in the Health Tracking survey of the Pew Internet and American Life Project in 2012 were included in the analysis. Data were analyzed for prevalence of Internet access via hand-held devices and differences in sociodemographic and clinical characteristics. Different online health information seeking behavior is also reported. Results: In the weighted sample size of 3,116 responses, 472 (15.1%) had access to Internet via hand-held devices. Those with such an access were younger and had higher income and education and better overall quality of life and quality of life at the time of answering the survey. They were more likely to be female and married or living as married. Those with diabetes or significant change in physical condition in the prior year were less likely to have such an access. In the multivariate analysis, older or diabetic individuals had lower probability of such access. Higher likelihood of access was associated with higher income and education, being married, female gender, better quality of life, higher number of comorbid illnesses, and emergency room visit or hospital admission in the last 12 months. Conclusions: Investigators should pay attention to sociodemographic and clinical disparities of older adults to develop feasible m-health interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)550-556
Number of pages7
JournalTelemedicine and e-Health
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Mobile health
  • Pew Internet and American Life Project
  • comorbid conditions
  • hand-held devices
  • senior citizens

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Health Information Management


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