Applications of contingent valuation and conjoint analysis in mHealth: understanding the willingness to pay for healthcare smartphone applications

Martin, Thomas Robert.
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University of Delaware
Increasingly, smartphones and the advanced features on these devices are used for the general provision of healthcare. Legislation associated with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provided incentives for the use of technology such as the electronic health record (EHR) to further the use of technology in healthcare. mHealth is a new term used to highlight the use of mobile technology in healthcare. No known studies have provided empirical evidence regarding the desire among healthcare providers to change or update existing policy to include technologies aside from EHRs. This includes broadening the scope of reimbursed technologies to include mobile applications or wireless devices. Recently, policy has focused on incentives associated with the use of desktop computers and electronic health records to facilitate more efficient healthcare. To provide policymakers and stakeholders with additional information, this dissertation examines current policy trends related to the use of mobile and wireless technology in healthcare. The study provides an assessment--within the theoretical framework of Diffusion of Innovation Theory and Utility Theory--of desirable attributes of mobile technology associated with the provision of healthcare via mobile devices. Within the aforementioned theoretical frameworks, attitudes towards changes in existing policy structures that impact the use of information technology in healthcare were observed and reported. Overall this study concludes that healthcare providers find changes to existing policy programs desirable which further expand the use of technology in health care settings. Certain attributes of mobile applications stimulate a willingness to pay more so than others. Furthermore, inclusion or changes to existing policy structures exert a change in overall willingness to pay for a smartphone application related to the delivery of healthcare.