Mobile Health Application and e-Health Literacy: Opportunities and Concerns for Cancer Patients and Caregivers.

Publication Date: 
Nov 15, 2017

Health literacy is critical for cancer patients as they must understand complex procedures or treatment options. Caregivers' health literacy also plays a crucial role in caring for cancer patients. Low health literacy is associated with low adherence to medications, poor health status, and increased health care costs. There is a growing interest in the use of mobile health applications (apps) to improve health literacy. Mobile health apps can empower underserved cancer patients and their caregivers by providing features or functionalities to enhance interactive patient-provider communication and to understand medical information more readily. Despite the potentiality of improving health literacy through mobile health apps, there exist several related concerns: no equal access to mobile technology, no familiarity or knowledge of using mobile health apps, and privacy and security concerns. These elements should be taken into account for health policy making and mobile apps design and development. Importantly, mobile apps should be developed with the goal of achieving a high range of user access by considering all health literacy level and various cultural and linguistic needs.