The Use of Digital Health Tools for Health Promotion Among Women With and Without Chronic Diseases: Insights From the 2017-2020 Health Information National Trends Survey. Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND: In the United States, almost 90% of women are at risk of at least one chronic condition. However, the awareness, management, and monitoring of these conditions are low and present a substantial public health problem. Digital health tools can be leveraged to reduce the alarmingly high rates of chronic condition-related mortality and morbidity in women. OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to investigate the 4-year trend of digital health use for health promotion among women with chronic conditions in the United States. METHODS: Data for this study were obtained from the 2017 to 2020 iterations of the Health Information Trends Survey 5. Separate weighted logistic regression models were conducted to test the unadjusted and adjusted association of the study variables and each digital health use. The 95% CI, adjusted odds ratio (aOR), and P value (.05) were reported. Analysis was conducted using Stata 17 software. RESULTS: In total, 8573 women were included in this study. The weighted prevalence of the use of a smartphone or tablet for various activities were as follows: track health goals, 50.3% (95% CI 48.4%-52.2%; 3279/7122); make a health decision, 43.6% (95% CI 41.9%-45.3%; 2998/7101); and discuss with a provider, 40% (95% CI 38.2%-41.8%; 2834/7099). In the preceding 12 months, 33% (95% CI 30.9%-35.2%; 1395/4826) of women used an electronic wearable device, 18.7% (95% CI 17.3%-20.2%; 1532/7653) shared health information, and 35.2% (95% CI 33.2%-37.3%; 2262/6349) sent or received an SMS text message with a health professional. Between 2017 and 2020, the weighted prevalence of having 0, 1, and multiple chronic conditions were 37.4% (2718/8564), 33.4% (2776/8564), and 29.3% (3070/8564), respectively. However, slightly above half (52.2%, 95% CI 0.50%-0.53%; 4756/8564) of US women reported having at least one chronic disease. Women with multiple chronic conditions had higher odds of using their tablet or smartphone to achieve a health-related goal (aOR 1.43, 95% CI 1.16-1.77; P=.001) and discuss with their provider (aOR 1.55 95% CI 1.20-2.00; P=.001) than those without any chronic conditions. Correspondingly, in the past 12 months, the odds of using an electronic wearable device (aOR 1.40, 95% CI 1.00-1.96; P=.04), sharing health information (aOR 1.91, 95% CI 1.46-2.51; P<.001), and communicating via SMS text messaging with a provider (aOR 1.31, 95% CI 1.02-1.68; P=.03) were significantly higher among women with chronic conditions than those without a chronic condition. CONCLUSIONS: This study suggests that women with chronic conditions accept and integrate digital health tools to manage their care. However, certain subpopulations experience a digital disconnect that may exacerbate existing health inequities. Implications for research and opportunities to leverage and integrate digital health tools to prevent, monitor, manage, and treat chronic conditions in women are discussed.

published proceedings

  • JMIR Mhealth Uhealth

author list (cited authors)

  • Ajayi, K. V., Wachira, E., Onyeaka, H. K., Montour, T., Olowolaju, S., & Garney, W.

complete list of authors

  • Ajayi, Kobi V||Wachira, Elizabeth||Onyeaka, Henry K||Montour, Tyra||Olowolaju, Samson||Garney, Whitney

publication date

  • August 2022