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Patient awareness of orthodontic mobile phone apps

Sharif, MO; Siddiqui, N; Hodges, S; (2019) Patient awareness of orthodontic mobile phone apps. Journal of Orthodontics , 46 (1) pp. 51-55. 10.1177/1465312518821361. Green open access

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Abstract

INTRODUCTION: Mobile phone applications (apps) can be engaging, accessible and versatile and have the potential to improve patient care. In 2017, 354 orthodontic apps were reported to be available, many of these are targeted at patients, however, the awareness and usage amongst orthodontic patients was unreported. AIM: The primary aim of this study was to assess patients’ current awareness of the availability of orthodontic apps. METHODS: One hundred orthodontic patients (50 new and 50 in treatment) completed a questionnaire designed to explore their awareness, access to and utilisation of orthodontic apps and social media to support orthodontic treatment. Furthermore, their willingness to engage with and use an app to aid with orthodontic treatment was explored. There were no age restrictions or exclusion criteria. RESULTS: Ninety percent of patients had access to a smartphone, of which, 73% belonged to them (rather than a parent/relative). Apple was the most popular platform (56%) followed by Android (26%). Only 7% of patients were aware that apps were available to help with orthodontic treatment and no patients had previously used an app related to orthodontics. However, 87% of patients stated that they would be willing to use an app to support treatment. Twenty one percent of patients had previously looked up information on social media, YouTube being the most popular platform. CONCLUSION: Current awareness of the availability of apps is poor, despite this finding, 87% of patients reported they would be willing to use an app to aid with orthodontic treatment. Given the availability of apps targeted at orthodontic patients, there is a need to assess the quality of these apps and if appropriate navigate patients towards high quality, effective apps.

Type: Article
Title: Patient awareness of orthodontic mobile phone apps
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1177/1465312518821361
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1177/1465312518821361
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: orthodontics, mobile phone apps, social media, patient awareness
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Eastman Dental Institute
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Eastman Dental Institute > EDI Craniofacial and Development Sci
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10060820
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