Mobile app for monitoring 3-month postoperative functional outcome after hip fracture: Usability study

Merle A.J. Geerds*, Wieke S. Nijmeijer, J.H. Hegeman, Miriam M.R. Vollenbroek-Hutten

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Background: As a result of an aging population, there has been an increasing incidence of hip fractures worldwide. In the Netherlands, in order to improve the quality of care for elderly patients with hip fractures, the multidisciplinary Centre for Geriatric Traumatology was established in 2008 at the Department of Trauma Surgery at Ziekenhuisgroep Twente hospital (located in Almelo and Hengelo in the Netherlands).

Objective: Though the Dutch Hip Fracture audit is used to monitor the quality of care for patients with fractures of the hip, only 30.7% of patients complete registration in the 3-month follow-up period. Mobile apps offer an opportunity for improvement in this area. The aim of this study was to investigate the usability and acceptance of a mobile app for gathering indicators of quality of care in a 3-month follow-up period after postoperative treatment of hip fracture.

Methods: From July 2017 to December 2017, patients who underwent surgical treatment for hip fracture were recruited. Patients and caregivers, who were collectively considered the participant cohort, were asked to download the app and answer a questionnaire. Participants were divided into two groups-those who downloaded the app and those who did not download the app. A telephone interview that was based upon the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology was conducted with a subset of participants from each group (1:1 ratio). This study was designated as not being subject to the Dutch Medical Research Involving Human Subjects Act according to the appropriate medical research ethics committees.

Results: Of the patients and caregivers who participated, 26.4% (29/110) downloaded the app, whereas 73.6% (81/110) did not. Telephone interviews with the subset of participants (n=24 per group) revealed that 54.0% (13/24) of the group of participants who did not download the app had forgotten the study. Among the group who downloaded the app, 95.8% (23/24) had the intention of completing the questionnaire, but only 4.2% (1/24) did so. The reasons for not completing the questionnaire included technical problems, cognitive disorders, or patient dependency on caregivers. Most participants in the group who downloaded the app self-reported a high level of expertise in using a smartphone (22/24, 91.7%), and sufficient facilitating conditions for using a smartphone were self-reported in both groups (downloaded the app: 23/24, 95.8%; did not download the app: 21/24, 87.5%), suggesting that these factors were not barriers to completion.

Conclusions: Despite self-reported intention to use the app, smartphone expertise, and sufficient facilitating conditions for smartphone use, implementation of the mobile app was infeasible for daily practice. This was due to a combination of technical problems, factors related to the implementation process, and the population of interest having cognitive disorders or a dependency on caregivers for mobile technology.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere16989
JournalJMIR human factors
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Hip fracture
  • Remote monitoring
  • Elderly
  • Telemedicine
  • Orthogeriatric
  • mHealth
  • App

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