Towards an understanding of post-adoption usage behaviours in the context of m-health pregnancy support applications

Chakabuda, Tendai Carol
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Mobile health applications are fast becoming an influential source of information for pregnant women. Studies have shown that pregnant women download 3 such apps on average on their cellphones. These mobile technologies have been shown to help women monitor their progress during their pregnancy and personalise healthcare to suit their needs. To date, llimited research has been directed towards understanding usage behaviours with these apps. Various authors have argued that there is a need to expand the scope of research from simple usage behaviour to deeper levels as technology becomes more sophisticated and easily available. M-health technologies are increasingly becoming more varied and sophisticated and as such this study aims to explore post-adoption usage specifically of mobile health pregnancy applications in the South African context. This study specifically looked at post adoption usage behaviours and used Hsieh and Zmud’s (2006) framework as a basis of understanding these behaviours. The potential influences on these behaviours were sourced from various studies done on pregnant women usage of ICT in general. These influences were then investigated to see whether they were relevant in the context of m-health pregnancy support applications. The primary method of data collection was open ended semi structured interviews with twelve pregnant women. Data analysis was done using the iterative model for qualitative data analysis proposed by Miles and Huberman (1994). The findings revealed that pregnant women displayed post adoption usage behaviours of routine use and IS continuance. With regards to the infusion stage, the study found that pregnant women engaged in the first set of post adoption usage behaviours i.e. extended usage and deep usage. They did not engage in second stage behaviours namely emergent use, feature extension or intention to explore behaviours. The influences identified in the literature were found to be relevant in the context of m-health applications and additional influences such as cost of seeing gynaecologist, number of features on the app and social structures were found to have an influence on usage of the apps. This study provides unique insights into the views of pregnant women’s experiences with m-health apps. Specifically, by using interpretive research it uncovers the subjective meanings around post adoption usage behaviours, understanding how pregnant women engage in these behaviours and subsequently how these behaviours are sustained during their pregnancy. The study recognises m-health pregnancy support apps as important tools in the pregnancy journey. It highlights how pregnant women value these apps and view them as huge information sources, reassurance and comfort during their pregnancy. It is argued that medical professionals cannot distance themselves away from these apps and need to work in conjunction with them to provide robust maternity care to their patients. 5 Theoretically, this study adds to our understanding of post adoption usage behaviours specifically in the context of m-health pregnancy apps. Limited studies have been done in this field specifically in the South African context and the study provides a foundation for further research. Further research can be done to understand how these apps are changing the relationship between pregnant women and medical professionals and furthermore, whether the information received from these apps is reliable and credible.
Research report submitted to the School of Economic and Business Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Commerce (Information Systems) by coursework and research, 2 November 2017
Chakabuda, Tendai Carol (2017) Towards an understanding of post-adoption usage behaviours in the context of m-health pregnancy support applications, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, <>