RESEARCH ARTICLE


Perspectives on App Use Among Nutrition and Dietetics Professionals



Jyotsna Sharman, Susanne Ashby
Department of Health and Human Performance, Radford University, Radford, VA, 24141, USA.


© 2015 Sharman and Ashby

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode. This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to these authors at the Department of Health and Human Performance, Radford University, Radford, VA, 24141, USA; E-mail:drjsharman@hotmail.com


Abstract

Despite the proliferation and use of handheld technology tools (such as Smartphones and Tablet PCs) along with software applications within the general US populace, little is known regarding their specific use by dietetics practitioners and instructors. As part of a dietetics informatics project to develop useful visualizations from nutrition datasets, the researchers sought first to explore how those in the field viewed the use of these handheld devices. The authors describe an exploratory survey study intended to investigate the current uses of new technology tools such as personal digital assistants like Smartphones and Tablet PCs by dietetic practitioners and instructors (from institutes of higher education and from Extension programs). Results revealed that a majority either do not own the latest technology or, if they do, use it primarily for personal use. Results also demonstrated that the target audiences had minimal experience with emerging technologies such as apps and visualizations. However, results showed that the target audiences did have a strong interest in learning the use of these tools and applications within their field. Respondents offered many ideas for useful applications while indicating that they required more instruction in how to utilize nutrition visualizations and apps within their classroom or field.

Keywords: Applications, dietetics, informatics, nutrition, technology.