Basic functionality of mobile phones:Respondents used their phones to make and receive phone calls mainly (97.35%, n=147). The median incoming and outgoing call number was at 4 and 5 respectively. SMS feature was used by 66 mobile phone users (44%) with median incoming and outgoing SMS number at 0.5 and 3 respectively (n=64). Variables associated with higher rates of SMS use included age lesser than the median of 32 years (Adjusted OR: 2.31; 95% CI: 1.
07-5.03), being a literate in English (Adjusted OR: 8.678; 95% CI: 4.019-18.
740), being single (Unadjusted OR: 2.79; 95% CI: 1.48-5.26), residing in an urban location (Unadjusted OR: 3.493; 95% CI: 1.695-7.
195) and being formally educated (Unadjusted OR: 15.012, 95% CI: 3.489-64.591). Around 24% of the total respondents (45 participants) agreed that they would use their mobile phones to communicate with their health care provider or counsellor for illness related queries, as opposed to the vast majority who did not actively prefer calling in such circumstances.Usage of phones for health promotion:Of the 185 respondents, 182 (98.38%) were willing to receive health information on their mobile phones.
Topics that the patients preferred included information on available medicines, advances in Tuberculosis management and care, medication reminders, communication with health care provider, motivational health messages, specific diet and prevention of TB. Mobile phones in the management of chronic illnesses:In response to specific queries about appropriate telephone communication from the clinic, 74.05% of the respondents chose voice call over SMS (21.62%) as their preferred mode of communication while 8 (4.32%) participants had no specific preference. 89.58% of SMS users preferred English as their language, in contrast with voice call users who preferred regional languages majorly (89%).
45.65% of the respondents chose to receive medication reminders once a week, 42.39% chose their required frequency “as often as the medications need to be taken” while the small remainder desired twice weekly, once biweekly or once monthly frequencies. About 45.
89% of the respondents suggested reminders were best received in the morning between 6AM and 10AM, or just before the medication time in the morning or evening, as this was the time they frequently took medications after breakfast or were at home. Overall, 95.13% of the respondents did not perceive such automated reminders as an intrusion on their privacy.