The role of mobile health technologies in promoting COVID-19 prevention: A narrative review of intervention effectiveness and adoptionJane Katusiime; Wilson Tumuhimbise; Godfrey Rwambuka Mugyenyi; Phionah Kobutungi; Aaron Mugaba; Raphael Zender; Niels Pinkwart; Angella Musiimenta
In: Digital Health, Vol. 8, Pages 1-12, SAGE Publications, 2022.
Background: Researchers have found innovative ways of using mobile health (mHealth) technologies to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). However, fewer studies have been done to determine their adoption and effectiveness. Objective: This review summarises the published evidence on the effect of mHealth technologies on the adoption of COVID-19 preventive measures, prevention knowledge acquisition and risk perception as well as technology adoption features for COVID-19 prevention. Methods: PubMed, IEEE and Google Scholar databases were searched for peer-reviewed literature from 1 January 2020 to 31 March 2022 for studies that evaluated the effect of mHealth technologies on COVID-19 preventive measures adoption, prevention knowledge acquisition and risk perception. Thirteen studies met the inclusion criteria and were included in this review. All the included studies were checked for quality using the mHealth evidence reporting and assessment (mERA) checklist. Results: The review found out that the utilisation of mHealth interventions such as alert text messages, tracing apps and social media platforms was associated with adherence behaviour such as wearing masks, washing hands and using sanitisers, maintaining social distance and avoiding crowded places. The use of contact tracing was linked to low-risk perception as users considered themselves well informed about their status and less likely to pose transmission risks compared to nonusers. Privacy and security issues, message personalisation and frequency, technical issues and trust concerns were identified as technology adoption features that influence the use of mHealth technologies for promoting COVID-19 prevention. Conclusion: Utilisation of mHealth may be a feasible and effective way to prevent the spread of COVID-19. However, the small study samples and short study periods prevent generalisation of the findings and calls for larger, longitudinal studies that encompass diverse study settings.