Health-Related Mobile Phone-Based Programs and Health-Care Utilization by Mothers of Infants: An Integrative Review

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Journal of Technology in Behavioral Science

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The purpose of this integrative review was to synthesize current research evidence on the effects of health-related mobile phone programs on health-care utilization by mothers of infants. A medical librarian in a university setting completed the computerized literature search in December 2018. Electronic databases searched were PubMed, CINAHL, Cochrane, Embase, and PsycINFO. Inclusion criteria were: (a) population of mothers of infants (birth to 12 months); (b) mobile phone technology health-care interventions such as text messages, blasts, on-line discussion, social media, and self-help apps; (c) health-care utilization outcomes such as hospitalizations, emergency room visits, urgent care visits, clinic visits, and immunizations; and (d) empirical studies conducted in the USA. Exclusion criteria were: (a) publications written in a language other than English; (b) publications not in journals; (c) non-research; (d) abstract-only publications; (e) dissertations, opinion publications, case studies, and theoretical articles; (f) publications before 2000; and (g) publications from predatory journals. Following the computerized search and hand search of the literature, four articles were included in the final analysis. All studies using health-related mobile phone-based programs demonstrated a positive effect on health-care utilization outcomes. Mobile phone-based programs increased adherence to follow-up appointments for mothers or their infants as well as immunizations and vaccination rates. These programs were associated with decreased emergency room visits and hospitalizations. Because there is a paucity of studies about health-related mobile phone programs on health-care utilization by mothers of infants, the authors advocate for additional studies in this area.


Journal of Technology in Behavioral Science, Vol. 5 (2020): 121-128. DOI.