Prasanna Mithra Parthaje, Bhaskaran Unnikrishnan, Rekha Thapar, Nithin Kumar, Elizabeth Josy Panikulam, Elina Geroge, Prajwal Pai, Vaman Kulkarni, Ramesh Holla, Bhagwan Bhagyamma Darshan, Avinash Kumar, Rohil Mehta, Ratna Jay
Department of Community Medicine, Kasturba Medical College (Manipal University), Mangalore, Karnataka, India.
Background: Among the manifold uses of mobile phones, mobile-health (mHealth) has been an important one, which is the practice of public health initiatives by awareness raising and communication campaigns. Optimum utilization of mHealth is possible only through adequate awareness. Hence, we aimed to study the perceptions and knowledge about mHealth among college going students in Mangalore, India. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in March 2014 among 627 students in selected engineering (302 students) and medical colleges (325 students) in Mangalore, India. Colleges were selected using convenience sampling (nonrandom) method. Data were collected using semi-structured self-administered questionnaire and analyzed. Results: Overall, 48.9% were males, 61.4% belonged to 18-20 years age group. The awareness about mobile phone health utilities among medical and engineering students was found to be similar. Among those who were aware of the concept of mHealth (74 [11.2%]), 40 (54.1%) were medical students. Marginally higher proportion of medical students felt mHealth could be helpful in protecting the patients’ confidentiality and would help in better communication with the patients. Conclusion: There was high level of general awareness about mHealth among the subjects. However, many specific areas had limited knowledge among both the streams of students, hence highlighting the need for increasing awareness and sensitization.
Keywords: Knowledge, mHealth, mobile phones, perceptions, South India, students.