Potential of smartphone apps to assist people with spinal cord injury

About the Project

People with spinal cord injury (SCI) face life-long and often complex daily regimes trying to prevent secondary health conditions. If not properly monitored and maintained secondary conditions can lead to serious complications that might potentially require hospitalisations. Therefore, enabling people with SCI and increasing their capacity for self-management is critical to support long-term health and wellbeing. Mobile technologies now offer an opportunity to increase consumer empowerment and self-management of chronic conditions.

This consumer led study had 138 participants and is now completed.

The project was a partnership between Griffith and MSHHS.

Findings were presented at: Hopkins Bold Ideas & Better Solutions Symposium November 2017; Australian & New Zealand Spinal Cord Society Annual Scientific Meeting November 2017.

Key findings include:

  • If an App is developed more than 90% of the patients generally can have access to it.
  • Most of the study participants could use a mobile device without needing any support. 
  • Participants self-reported pain, bladder problems and bowel problems as the most frequent issues within a 12 month period prior to data collection.
  • Around half of patients (between 45-58% across each condition) indicated a need for some level of additional support to manage their current health needs.
  • 80 out of 138 participants (57.97%) suggested that they would be likely/very likely to use an app for at least one health condition.
  • Pain, bowel problems, skin issues/bed sores (change to pressure injuries) and bladder problems seem to be the top four health conditions where apps might be helpful if developed.
  • The patient preferences suggest that if an app is to be developed, then it should include 3 key functionalities.
    • Communication with health providers
    • Advice on self-management of certain aspects of health
    • Information on relevant health topics along with some videos

Permission was sought from ANZCOS to develop thereliable information on AD  as an App. Currently, App providers have been engaged to undertake this task.

View All Researchers