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Health Science Reports




Background and aims: This mixed-methods study examined participants' acceptance and perception of using digital health for managing nutrition and participants' digital competence. The results will be formative for making digital nutrition education more effective and acceptable for people with Parkinson's disease (PwPD) and their informal caregivers. Methods: Qualitative data were collected through in-person semi-structured, dyadic interviews, and questionnaires from 20 dyads (20 PwPD and their caregivers) in the Northeastern United States and analyzed throughout the 2018 to 2019 academic year. Interview transcripts were deductively coded using the framework analysis method. Phrases related to acceptance of digital health were sub-coded into accept, neutral, or reject and those related to perceptions of digital health were sub-coded into perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use, and awareness of digital health. Quantitative data were analyzed using independent samples t tests and Fisher's exact tests. Qualitative codes were transformed into variables and compared to digital competence scores to integrate the data. An average acceptance rate for digital health was calculated through examining the mean percent of phrases coded as accept from interview transcripts. Results: Twenty-five of 40 (62.5%) participants used the internet for at least 5 health-related purposes and the average acceptance rate was 54.4%. Dyads rejected digital health devices if they did not see the added benefit. The majority of participants reported digital health to be useful, but hard to use, and about half felt they needed education about existing digital health platforms. There was no difference in digital competence scores between PwPD and their caregivers (28.6 ± 12.6). Conclusion: Findings suggest that dyads accept and use technology but not to its full potential as technology can be perceived as hard to use. This finding, combined with digital competence scores, revealed that education is warranted prior to providing a digital nutrition intervention.


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