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This article is the author’s final published version in JAMIA Open, Volume 5, Issue 4, November 2022, Article number ooac095.

The published version is available at Copyright © Nelson et al.


Despite smartphone ownership becoming ubiquitous, it is unclear whether and where disparities persist in experience using health apps. In 2 diverse samples of adults with type 2 diabetes collected 2017-2018 and 2020-2021, we examined adjusted disparities in smartphone ownership and health app use by age, gender, race, education, annual household income, health insurance status, health literacy, and hemoglobin A1c. In the earlier sample (N = 422), 87% owned a smartphone and 49% of those had ever used a health app. Participants with lower income or limited health literacy had ≥50% lower odds of owning a smartphone. Comparatively, in the later sample (N = 330), almost all participants (98%) owned a smartphone and 70% of those had ever used a health app; however, disparities in health app use closely mirrored disparities in smartphone ownership from 2017 to 2018. Our findings suggest device ownership is necessary but insufficient for assuming people will use apps to support their health.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

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