Understanding older adults’ perceptions of mHealth apps

Mimi Trinh, Maurita T. Harris, Renato F.L. Azevedo, Wendy A. Rogers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Mobile health (mHealth) apps can serve as a tool to aid older adults with their wellness needs such as medication taking or facilitating telehealth visits. However, older adults do not utilize mHealth apps to their full potential. Barriers to adoption could be due to personal preferences or app design limitations. Objective: The goal of the study was to learn more about barriers and facilitators for mHealth app adoption by using an adaptation of the Technology Readiness Index 2.0 (TRI 2.0) to focus on health technology apps. Our adapted measure included the survey items plus an interview to obtain insights into why older adults use or do not use mHealth apps. Method: Seventeen older adults (age M = 65.6, SD = 5.19) participated in the study on Zoom. They completed a set of surveys to assess demographic information, technology experience, and technology readiness. They then engaged in the TRI-Health semi-structured interview. Reflexive thematic analysis was conducted to find patterns and themes related to mHealth use. Results: Older adults shared many facilitators and barriers to adopting mHealth apps. These themes were organized into the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Usage of Technology (UTAUT) model. Overall, they had positive perceptions about the potential for mHealth apps. Nevertheless, they reported barriers, mostly related to use challenges and lack of technical support. Conclusion: mHealth apps have many uses that older adults can benefit from. However, older adults may need additional facilitators, such as social support and instructional guidance to adopt them. Other factors, such as lack of prior technology experience and their perceived irrelevance to their current health condition, may be barriers to adoption.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number10
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2023


  • digital health technology
  • health technology
  • mHealth
  • older adults
  • technology acceptance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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