Use of Technology to Promote Health and Wellbeing of People Who Are Homeless: A Systematic Review

Vanessa Heaslip, Stephen Richer, Bibha Simkhada, Huseyin Dogan, Sue Green

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Background: People who are homeless experience poorer health outcomes, and challenges accessing healthcare contribute to the experienced health inequality. There has been an expansion in using technology to promote health and wellbeing and technology has the potential to enable people who are socially excluded, including those who are homeless, to be able to access health services. However, little research has been undertaken to explore how technology is used to promote health and wellbeing for those who are homeless. This review aims to address the questions: ‘what mobile health (mHealth) related technology is used by homeless populations’ and ‘what is the health impact of mobile technology for homeless populations’? Methods: An integrative review methodology was employed. A systematic search of electronic databases was carried out between 4 January 2021 and 30 April 2021, searching for papers published between 2015 and 2021, which yielded 2113 hits, relevant papers were selected using specified inclusion and exclusion criteria reported using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analysis. The quality assessment of each paper included in the review was undertaken using the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool. Results: Seventeen papers were selected for review and thematic analysis identified four themes: technology ownership, barriers to use, connectivity and health benefits. Conclusion: It is evident that technology has the potential to support the health and wellbeing of individuals who are homeless; however, there are challenges regarding connectivity to the internet, as well as issues of trust in who has access to personal data and how they are used. Further research is needed to explore the use of health technology with people who are homeless to address these challenges.
Original languageEnglish
Article number6845
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number13
Early online date25 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2021


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