Introducing a Mobile Health Care Platform in an Underserved Rural Population: Reducing Assimilations Gaps on Adoption and Use via Nudges

Joseph Hodges
Muma Business Review  •  Volume 4  •  2020  •  pp. 135-138
Rural communities are often overlooked when it comes to offering cutting edge consumer
healthcare technologies. Mobile applications usually exclude populations in rural demographics
due to the infrastructure requirements and available technology in the region. The population
studied is a low income rural health plan in southwest Georgia. They are uniquely considered as
they have the highest healthcare costs in the U.S. and are compared to healthcare costs among
higher income populations like Vail, Colorado. Innovations, such as mobile healthcare
applications, have the capacity to offset some of these costs, but even if adoption occurs, this
does not guarantee use will naturally follow. This study explores the creation and development
of a mobile healthcare application (i.e., the platform) and measurement of the assimilation gap in
the use of the adopted platform. The platform was designed to simplify the access to use
opportunities between consumers and providers of care with the long-term goal of reducing
healthcare costs. The use opportunities measured in this platform are telemedicine visits and
electronic appointment setting.
This research presents a process for influencing assimilation gaps in healthcare platforms.
Measurement techniques for successful healthcare platform programs are constrained due to data
limitations. Building on existing assimilation gap research and designing artifacts that include
nudging techniques, this study identifies concepts that display assimilation gap narrowing
methods that improve healthcare platform design. Using elaborated action design research
(EADR), each artifact design cycle follows a process map to improve adoption and use. The
research discovers how adoptable a healthcare platform (CareValet) is within a rural population, which strategies most promote adoption, and what strategies might best support use
improvement. In this study, platform adoption is compared as the relative value against each use
metric for key stakeholders including consumers (e.g., health plan members), clients (e.g.,
employer or health plan), and platform developers. Research contributions include the
development of assimilation gap narrowing methods and return on investment (ROI) value
graphing tools associated with platform use.
Mobile applications, Platform development, Assimilation gaps, Design Science Research (DSR), Elaborated Action Design Research (EADR), Multi-level assimilation gaps, Rural healthcare, Consumer platforms
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