m-Health views and perception among Malaysian: findings from a survey among individuals living in Selangor

Jun Yang Lee, Chee Piau Wong, Shaun Wen Huey Lee


Background: Information and communication technology can be a useful tool to improve population health especially in low-middle income countries. However, the full potential of m-health may be limited by the users’ health and technology literacy. This study aims to explore the m-health and technology literacy among Malaysians, and factors that may promote the use of m-health.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was performed among residents residing around Klang and Petaling district in Selangor, Malaysia from November 2015 to January 2017. Multivariable logistic regression models were used to assess the predictors of mobile device and health apps usage and examine the association between apps use and intention to change behavior with sociodemographic predictors.
Results: A total of 4,504 respondents participated in our survey. Most respondents reported that they owned a mobile or smartphone, which was commonly used to make calls and deliver text messages. However, only one-fifth (20.4%) of respondents were familiar with the term m-health or had used a health related application, with millennial (individuals aged ≤39 years) generally more aware of the term m-health and were more likely to use m-health as a tool for health management. The most commonly used application were for promoting adherence as well as self-efficacy (e.g., lifestyle advice). Other factors associated with higher levels of m-health use were individuals with higher level of education and individuals taking multiple medications.
Conclusions: While most Malaysian were not familiar with m-health, they reported to have a positive attitude towards m-health. Malaysians were willing to use m-health to manage their health conditions but expressed that they required further education and training. As m-health is still at its infancy in Malaysia, there is potential to further develop m-health as an innovative solution to manage the population health.