What drives young vietnamese to use mobile health innovations? Implications for health communication and behavioral interventions

Bach Xuan Tran, Melvyn W.B. Zhang, Huong Thi Le, Hinh Duc Nguyen, Long Hoang Nguyen, Quyen Le Thi Nguyen, Tho Dinh Tran, Carl A. Latkin, Roger C.M. Ho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Mobile phone use in Vietnam has become increasingly popular in recent years, with youth (people aged 15-24 years) being one of the groups with the heaviest use. Health-related apps on mobile phones (mobile health [mHealth] apps) appear to be a feasible approach for disease and health management, especially for self-management. However, there has been a scarcity of research on mobile phone usage for health care among youth and adolescents. Objective: This study aims to identify the patterns of usage of mobile phone apps and the preferences for functionalities of mobile phone-based health-related apps among Vietnamese youth. Methods: An online cross-sectional study was conducted in Vietnam in August to October 2015. Web-based respondent-driven sampling technique was adopted to recruit participants. The online questionnaire was developed and distributed using Google Forms. Chi square and Mann-Whitney tests were used to investigate the difference in attitude and preference for mobile phone apps between the two genders. Results: Among 356 youths (age from 15 to 25 years) sampled, low prevalence was found of using mHealth apps such as beauty counseling (6.5%, 23/356), nutrition counseling (7.9%, 28/356), disease prevention (9.8%, 35/356), and disease treatment (7.6%, 27/356). The majority of users found the app(s) they used to be useful (72.7%, 48/356) and reported satisfaction with these apps (61.9%, 39/356). No significant differences were found between the genders in their perception of the usefulness of apps and their satisfaction with mobile health apps. Most of the participants (68.2%, 238/356) preferred apps which are conceptualized and designed to run on a mobile phone compared to Web-based apps, and 50% (176/356) preferred visual materials. Approximately 53.9% (188/356) reported that it was integral for the mobile phone apps to have a sharing/social network functionality. Participants with a higher perceived stress score and EuroQol-5 Dimensions (EQ-5D) index were significantly less likely to use mHealth apps. Conclusions: This study found a low proportion using mHealth-related mobile phone apps, but a high level of receptiveness and satisfaction among Vietnamese youth. Acceptance level and preferences toward mHealth apps as well as specifically preferred functionalities discovered in this study are essential not only in conceptualizing and developing appropriate mobile phone interventions targeting youth and adolescents, but also in the application of technically advanced solutions in disease prevention and health management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere194
JournalJMIR mHealth and uHealth
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2018


  • Adolescent
  • App
  • Mobile phone
  • Vietnam
  • Youth
  • mHealth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics

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