A survey of mobile technology usage and desires by caregivers of children with cancer

Emily L. Mueller, Anneli R. Cochrane, William E. Bennett, Aaron E. Carroll

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations


Background: The use of mobile health (mHealth) has grown exponentially, even by caregivers of vulnerable populations. The study objective was to understand mobile technology usage, barriers, and desires by caregivers of children with cancer. Procedure: Paper surveys were mailed to caregivers of children diagnosed with cancer at Riley Hospital for Children between June 2015 and June 2017. The survey contained 13 questions, both fixed and open-ended, and was sent in both English and Spanish up to three times. Results: Respondents (n = 121) were primarily parents (93.2%), median age was 40.7 years (range 23–63), and most were white, non-Hispanic (74.4%). The majority made under $100,000 annual household income (72.9%) and had an education of at least some college or greater (74.5%). Nearly all owned a smart phone (99.2%) and most (61.2%) owned a tablet. Among operating systems, the majority used iOS (62.8%), while 49.6% used Android. About a third (37.1%) reported no barriers to mobile technology use, but 22.4% experienced “data limitations.” Overall, 86.2% wanted at least one medical management website/app: medical knowledge (61.2%), symptom tracking/management (49.1%), and medication reminders (44.8%). Further, 62.1% wanted access to child's medical record and 58.6% wanted communication with medical providers. Lower education was significantly associated with experiencing phone/plan barriers (P = 0.008). Conclusion: The majority of caregivers of children with cancer use mobile technology with minimal barriers; future research should focus on designing an mHealth tool to address the medical management needs by caregivers of children with cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere27359
JournalPediatric Blood and Cancer
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2018


  • outcomes research
  • pediatric oncology
  • support care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Hematology
  • Oncology

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