Part B: The Feasibility and Acceptability of mI SMART: A Nurse-Led Technology Intervention for Multiple Chronic Conditions in Primary Care

Background: An opportunity to improve care of multiple chronic conditions for those living in rural areas of the country may exist through the use of technology. Integrating technology interventions into existing rural health systems allows for increased access to healthcare services and augments self-management ability for patients. However, questions remain about acceptability and feasibility of technology use in rural populations. The purpose of this paper is to present the feasibility of mI-SMART, a HIPAA compliant, web-based, structure of mHealth sensors and mobile devices designed to overcome the known health determinant of access to care for rural, chronically ill patients by using technology. Methods: The study was conducted at a primary-care clinic that provided healthcare at no or low cost to low income adults. Inclusion criteria encompassed adults, with at least one chronic condition, having at least 3rd grade reading level, without having dementia/psychosis. Each participant was given a Nexus7 tablet and Bluetooth self-monitoring devices. Feasibility was evaluated in four ways and acceptability was evaluated with post-intervention questionnaires. Results: Thirty participants [mean age: 52 years (SD: 10.0, range: 29 - 74)] were majority female (70%), white (70%), married (60%), high-school educated or less (56.7%), impoverished (less than $20,000 per annum (56.7%), with multiple chronic conditions (96.7%)). During the trial, all participants were able to transmit data. No error messages were due to the mI-SMART system. Errors were user related and solved with technical support. Mean number of self-monitor transmissions was 219.7 [(SD: 197.4), range: 1 - 733]. Participants logged into the system an average of 163. 1 [(SD: 169.7), range: 2 - 568] times and viewed an average of 1092.1 [(SD: 1205.6), range: 8 - 3851] intervention components. Over eighty-six percent of participants sent data for 12 weeks and 43.1% used the intervention for longer. Conclusions: The mI-SMART system is a feasible option for impoverished persons living in rural areas.