JMIR Form Res. 2022 Jun 22;6(6):e35961. doi: 10.2196/35961.
BACKGROUND: Age-related diseases such as dementia are playing an increasingly important role in global population development. Thus, prevention, diagnostics, and interventions require more accessibility, which can be realized through digital health apps. With the app on prescription, Germany made history by being the first country worldwide to offer physicians the possibility to prescribe and reimburse digital health apps as of the end of the year 2020.
OBJECTIVE: Considering the lack of knowledge about correlations with the likelihood of use among physicians, this study aimed to address the question of what makes the use of a digital health app by physicians more likely.
METHODS: We developed and validated a novel measurement tool-the Digital Health Compliance Questionnaire (DHCQ)-in an interdisciplinary collaboration of experts to assess the role of proposed factors in the likelihood of using a health app. Therefore, a web-based survey was conducted to evaluate the likelihood of using a digital app called DemPredict to screen for Alzheimer dementia. Within this survey, 5 latent dimensions (acceptance, attitude toward technology, technology experience, payment for time of use, and effort of collection), the dependent variable likelihood of use, and answers to exploratory questions were recorded and tested within directed correlations. Following a non-probability-sampling strategy, the study was completed by 331 physicians from Germany in the German language, of whom 301 (90.9%) fulfilled the study criteria (eg, being in regular contact with patients with dementia). These data were analyzed using a range of statistical methods to validate the dimensions of the DHCQ.
RESULTS: The DHCQ revealed good test theoretical measures-it showed excellent fit indexes (Tucker-Lewis index=0.98; comparative fit index=0.982; standardized root mean square residual=0.073; root mean square error of approximation=0.037), good internal consistency (Cronbach α=.83), and signs of moderate to large correlations between the DHCQ dimensions and the dependent variable. The correlations between the variables acceptance, attitude toward technology, technology experience, and payment for the time of use and the dependent variable likelihood of use ranged from 0.29 to 0.79, and the correlation between effort of the collection and likelihood of use was -0.80. In addition, we found high levels of skepticism regarding data protection, and the age of the participants was found to be negatively related to their technical experience and attitude toward technology.
CONCLUSIONS: In the context of the results, increased communication between the medical and technology sectors and significantly more awareness raising are recommended to make the use of digital health apps more attractive to physicians as they can be adjusted to their everyday needs. Further research could explore the connection between areas such as adherence on the patient side and its impact on the likelihood of use by physicians.