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JMIR Mhealth Uhealth. 2018 Jun 29;6(6):e147. doi: 10.2196/mhealth.9988.

Self-Management of Chronic Diseases Among Older Korean Adults: An mHealth Training, Protocol, and Feasibility Study.

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College of Nursing, Yonsei University, Seoul, Republic Of Korea.
Mo-Im Kim Nursing Research Institute, Yonsei University, Seoul, Republic Of Korea.
School of Nursing, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY, United States.
Mapo Senior Welfare Center, Seoul, Republic Of Korea.
Seodaemun Senior Welfare Center, Seoul, Republic Of Korea.



Most training programs for self-management of chronic diseases in Korea currently involve face-to-face interactions primarily in a health care setting. Therefore, older Koreans living in the community continue to seek other training opportunities for the management of chronic diseases. This has led to the development of new training methods, such as mobile health (mHealth) care, which are valuable in community centers and homes.


This feasibility study (1) developed an mHealth training protocol to empower community-dwelling elderly individuals to manage their chronic diseases; (2) examined the feasibility of delivering this mHealth training protocol to elderly individuals through mobile tablets and applications (apps); and (3) discussed the contextual and methodological challenges associated with the development of this protocol.


The mHealth training protocol was developed based on the eHealth Enhanced Chronic Care Model and comprised of four phases. Phase 1 included standardized technology (mobile tablets) training using guidebooks, demonstrations, and guided practice. Phase 2 included provision of standardized information about disease management that was obtained from governmental and professional health care organizations. Phase 3 included provision of training on the use of high-quality mHealth apps that were selected based on individual diagnoses. Phase 4 included encouraging the patients to practice using self-selected mHealth apps based on their individual needs. Quantitative descriptive statistics and qualitative content analyses of user evaluations were used to assess the feasibility and user acceptance of this protocol.


Of the 27 older adults included in this study, 25 completed all 4 weeks of the mHealth training. The attrition rate was 7% (2/27), and the reasons included time conflicts, emotional distress, and/or family discouragement. The men required little or no training for Phase 1, and in comparison with men, women seemed to depend more on the mHealth trainers in Phase 3. Gender, level of education, and previous experience of using smartphones were associated with the speed of learning, level of confidence, and overall competence.


A tailored and personalized approach is required to develop mHealth training protocols for older adults. Self-management of chronic diseases via mHealth training requires careful consideration of the complex nature of human behavior, emotional responses, and familial influences. Therefore, integration of a theoretical, clinical, and technical approach is necessary for the successful development and implementation of an mHealth training program that targets older adults with chronic diseases in a community setting.


chronic disease; community health service; eHealth Enhanced Chronic Care Model; elderly; feasibility study; mobile health

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