Boosting adoption of mobile health apps: An exploration of new human and technology drivers of adoption

Author: Luke Brownlow

Brownlow, Luke, 2023 Boosting adoption of mobile health apps: An exploration of new human and technology drivers of adoption, Flinders University, College of Business, Government and Law

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Despite the many benefits and the growing accessibility of mobile applications (apps) for healthcare, the adoption rate of these apps is low. Further, existing research into adoption of apps for healthcare takes a narrow approach to adoption frameworks. That is, empirical studies investigate product and technology adoption drivers in terms of how they directly impact app usage and post-adoption usage behaviours. Few studies consider how these drivers underpin theories and models to offer a holistic view of technology adoption processes. Guided by product and technology acceptance theories, namely the Technology Acceptance Model, this thesis identifies and analyses a range of untested drivers of health app acceptance to develop a new model of adoption. The drivers analysed are the following characteristics of app users: i) subjective knowledge and involvement, ii) need for personalisation, iii) trust, iv) perceived convenience and the following characteristics of app technology, v) gamification and vi) aesthetics. This thesis uses the context of health apps and addresses gambling as an empirical research context as it investigates a sample of help-seeking gamblers and employs gambling quit apps as the health app for adoption. This thesis reports on a mixed-methods design study consisting of a qualitative stage—thematic analysis of focus group discussion data—and a quantitative stage—structural equation modelling of web-based survey data. The qualitative stage produced valuable insights into target app users’ design and functionality preferences for health apps. The quantitative stage offers novel findings around the adoption drivers investigated. The significant drivers found were subjective knowledge and involvement, need for personalisation, perceived convenience, gamification and aesthetics. Using these findings, the thesis develops a new theoretical model of health app adoption. It then uses the empirical findings to present practical recommendations for app developers and marketers for embedding the significant drivers into the creation and promotion of health care apps.

Keywords: mHealth, quit apps, TAM, technology acceptance model, gambling, app adoption

Subject: Business thesis

Thesis type: Doctor of Philosophy
Completed: 2023
School: College of Business, Government and Law
Supervisor: Roberta Crouch