Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a condition characterized by repeated episodes of partial or complete obstruction of the upper airway during sleep. An accessible method to facilitate self-management education is through information and communication technologies (ICTs).
To assess the frequency of and preferences for ICT use in patients with sleep apnea.
A multicenter, multinational, observational cross-sectional survey study was conducted between 2018 and 2019 in sleep units in different countries of Latin America, including patients of both genders older than 18 years with a diagnosis of sleep apnea. Participants were asked to complete 20 questions in a self-administered survey about the frequency of use of ICTs and their preferences for receiving disease-related information.
A total of 435 patients participated in the study, with a mean age of 59.1 ± 14.0; 62.5% (n = 272) were males. Most patients had access to cellphones (92.4%, n = 402), smartphone (83.0%, n = 361) and an internet connection (82.3%, n = 358). One-to-one ICTs were regarded as the most frequently used ICT type, as 75.4% (n = 328) of participants reported using them daily (χ2(4) = 848.207, p =.000). With respect to categories of interest, one-to-one ICTs were also the best rated ICT type to receive (59.1%, n = 257; χ2(2) = 137.710, p =.000) and ask physicians (57.0%, n = 248; χ2(2) = 129.145, p =.000) information about OSA. Finally, older adults and those with lower educational levels were found to be less likely to use and be interested in ICTs.
Most patients have access to different ICTs and often use them to seek and receive medical information. The preferred ICTs include those in the one-to-one category (WhatsApp, email) and the one-to-many category (web browsers) for general health and OSA-related information.
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