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Impact of Gender on Patient Preferences for Technology-Based Behavioral Interventions


Introduction: Technology-based interventions offer an opportunity to address high-risk behaviors inthe emergency department (ED). Prior studies suggest behavioral health strategies are more effectivewhen gender differences are considered. However, the role of gender in ED patient preferences fortechnology-based interventions has not been examined. The objective was to assess whether patientpreferences for technology-based interventions varies by gender.

Methods: This was a secondary analysis of data from a systematic survey of adult (18 years of age),English-speaking patients in a large urban academic ED. Subjects were randomly selected during apurposive sample of shifts. The iPad survey included questions on access to technology, preferencesfor receiving health information, and demographics. We defined ‘‘technology-based’’ as web, textmessage, e-mail, social networking, or DVD; ‘‘non-technology-based’’ was defined as in-person,written materials, or landline. We calculated descriptive statistics and used univariate tests to comparemen and women. Gender-stratified multivariable logistic regression models were used to examineassociations between other demographic factors (age, race, ethnicity, income) and technology-basedpreferences for information on specific risky behaviors.

Results: Of 417 participants, 45.1% were male. There were no significant demographic differencesbetween men and women. Women were more likely to use computers (90.8% versus 81.9%; p¼0.03),Internet (66.8% versus 59.0%; p¼0.03), and social networks (53.3% versus 42.6%; p¼0.01). 89% ofmen and 90% of women preferred technology-based formats for at least type of health information;interest in technology-based for individual health topics did not vary by gender. Concern aboutconfidentiality was the most common barrier to technology-based use for both genders. Multivariateanalysis showed that for smoking, depression, drug/alcohol use, and injury prevention, gendermodified the relationship between other demographic factors and preference for technology-basedhealth information; e.g., older age decreases interest in technology-based information for smokingcessation in women but not in men (aOR 0.96, 95% CI 0.93-0.99 versus aOR 1.00, 95% CI 0.97-1.03).

Conclusion: Our findings suggest ED patients’ gender may affect technology preferences. Receptivityto technology-based interventions may be a complex interaction between gender and otherdemographic factors. Considering gender may help target ED patient populations most likely to bereceptive to technology-based interventions. [West J Emerg Med. 2014;15(5):593–599.]


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