(1) Analysing the willingness of the citizens to pay for mobile health applications and the socio-demographic characteristics that best predict such willingness. (2) Developing an index of acceptance of the mHealth for the overall population and its relation with the willingness to pay for a mHealth app.
A representative survey of the Andalusian population between 18 and 95 years old was used. Name of the Survey: “Barometer about mobile health apps” (March 2016, ACSA, Andalusian Agency for Healthcare Quality, N = 1069; the level of trust is 97% y P = 0.5. Maximum sampling error for global data ± 3%) Technique: Exploratory Factor Analysis and Boosted Regression Trees.
In Andalusia (A region with 8,5M inhabitants), 70.9% of the population has a device (tablet, mobile phone and/or wearable) with an internet connection. This is nearly 4.8 millions of inhabitants. The mHealth Acceptance Index (mHAI) was designed in order to gather the citizen’s perception about the different dimensions to which the mHealth apps could positively impact, both individually and collectively, the population. The correlations between the 10 variables used were mostly of the cases greater than 0.40 (range = 0.381–0.725) (test KMO = 0.93; explained variance of the 1st factor = 54%). While 35.7% of the population would be willing to pay for a private mHealth app, as long as it was supervised by the Public Administration so it would guarantee the safety and quality of the content included in such application, 45% would not be willing to pay anything. Such percentages do not depend on the nature of the mHealth app, whether it is private or public. The BRT model achieved a high predictive precision using the Area Under the Curve as a goodness of fit measure. The Area Under the Curve (AUC) = 0.75. Being young and having a high acceptance of mobile technology for healthcare systems, personal health management, and doctor/patients interaction could accumulate more than the half of the predictive capacity to explain the willingness to pay for a government-approved mHealth app.
The quality and safety of mobile applications in the field of health are gaining more and more importance among policymakers. The conclusions of this study reveal how the age interaction and a positive perception of the effects of mobile health play an important role in the willingness to pay for mobile health applications, whose quality and safety are guaranteed. Due to the unavoidable generational renewal, we can expect that the demand for quality mobile health applications continue increasing and we will need accreditation and certification models for such applications in markets.