JMIR mHealth and uHealth
Mobile and tablet apps, ubiquitous and pervasive computing, wearable computing and domotics for health.
JMIR mhealth and uhealth (mobile and ubiquitous health) (JMU, ISSN 2291-5222) is a new spin-off journal of JMIR, the leading eHealth journal (Impact Factor 2015: 4.532). JMIR mHealth and uHealth has a projected impact factor (2015) of about 2.03. The journal focusses on health and biomedical applications in mobile and tablet computing, pervasive and ubiquitous computing, wearable computing and domotics.
JMIR mHealth and uHealth publishes even faster and has a broader scope with including papers which are more technical or more formative/developmental than what would be published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.
In addition to peer-reviewing paper submissions by researchers, JMIR mHealth and uHealth offers peer-review of medical apps itself (developers can submit an app for peer-review here).
JMIR mHealth and uHealth features a rapid and thorough peer-review process, professional copyediting, professional production of PDF, XHTML, and XML proofs.
JMIR mHealth and uHealth adheres to the same quality standards as JMIR and all articles published here are also cross-listed in the Table of Contents of JMIR, the worlds' leading medical journal in health sciences / health services research and health informatics.
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Latest Submissions Open for Peer-Review:View All Open Peer Review Articles
Mobile telephone technology use by people experiencing Multiple Sclerosis fatigue.
Date Submitted: Jun 13, 2016
Open Peer Review Period: Jun 16, 2016 - Aug 11, 2016
Background: Fatigue is one of the most commonly reported symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis (MS). It has a profound aspect on all spheres of life, both for the person with MS and their relatives. It is on...
Background: Fatigue is one of the most commonly reported symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis (MS). It has a profound aspect on all spheres of life, both for the person with MS and their relatives. It is one of the key precipitants of early retirement. Individual, group and internet cognitive behavioural therapy based approaches to supporting people with MS to manage their fatigue have been shown to be effective. Objective: The aim of this project was to: 1) survey the types of mobile devices people with MS use or would consider using for a health intervention, together with the level of internet access they have, and 2) characterise the levels of fatigue severity and its impact experienced by the people in our sample, to provide an estimate of fatigue severity of people with MS in New Zealand. The ultimate goal of this work was to support the future development of a mobile intervention for the management of fatigue for people with MS. Methods: People with MS were surveyed using an online questionnaire. Results: This survey has demonstrated that NZ respondents with MS experienced high levels of both fatigue severity and fatigue impact. The majority of participants have a mobile device and access to the internet. Conclusions: These factors, alongside limited access to face-to-face cognitive behavioural therapy based interventions, create an opportunity to develop a mobile technology platform for delivering a cognitive behavioural therapy based intervention to improve the severity and impact of fatigue in people with MS.
Formative work to develop a tailored HIV testing smartphone application for diverse, at-risk HIV-negative men who have sex with men
Date Submitted: Jun 7, 2016
Open Peer Review Period: Jun 10, 2016 - Aug 5, 2016
Background: Although gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) are disproportionately affected by HIV, few test for HIV at regular intervals. Smartphone applications (or “apps”) may...
Background: Although gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) are disproportionately affected by HIV, few test for HIV at regular intervals. Smartphone applications (or “apps”) may be an ideal tool to increase regular testing among MSM. However, the success of apps to encourage regular testing among MSM will depend on how frequently they are downloaded, whether they are continued to be used over months or years, and the degree to which such apps are tailored to the needs of this population. Objective: The primary objectives of this study are to answer the following questions: 1) What features and functions of smartphone apps do MSM believe are associated with downloading apps to their mobile phones?; 2) What features and functions of smartphone apps are most likely to influence MSM’s sustained use of apps over time?; and 3) What features and functions do MSM prefer in a HIV testing smartphone app? Methods: Focus groups (n=7 with 34 participants) were conducted with a racially and ethnically diverse group of sexually active HIV-negative MSM (Mean age of 32; 42% tested for HIV ≥10 months ago in Miami, Florida and Minneapolis, Minnesota. Focus groups were digitally recorded, transcribed verbatim, and de-identified for analysis. A constant comparison method (i.e., grounded theory coding) was employed to examine and re-examine the themes that emerged from the focus groups. Results: Men reported cost, security, and efficiency as their primary reasons influencing whether they download an app. Usefulness and perceived necessity, as well as peer and posted reviews, affected whether they downloaded and used the app over time. Factors that influenced whether they keep and continue to use an app over time included reliability, ease of use, and frequency of updates. Poor performance and functionality and lack of use were the primary reasons why men would delete an app from their phone. Participants’ also shared their preferences for an app to encourage regular HIV testing by providing feedback on test reminders, tailored testing interval recommendations, HIV test locator, and monitoring of personal sexual behaviors. Conclusions: Mobile apps for HIV prevention have proliferated, despite relatively little formative research to understand best practices for their development and implementation. The findings of this study suggest key design characteristics that should be used to guide development of a HIV testing app to promote regular HIV testing for MSM. The features and functions identified in this and prior research, as well as existing theories of behavior change, should be used to guide mobile app development in this critical area.
Crafting health messages with knowledge translation to provoke interest, raise awareness, inspire change, impart knowledge and transform practice: Short Paper
Date Submitted: May 31, 2016
Open Peer Review Period: Jun 3, 2016 - Jul 29, 2016
Background: There is growing use of technology supported knowledge translation (KT) strategies like social media in health promotion and in Indigenous health. However, little is known about how indivi...
Background: There is growing use of technology supported knowledge translation (KT) strategies like social media in health promotion and in Indigenous health. However, little is known about how individuals use technologies and the evidence base for the impact of these health interventions on health behaviour change is weak. Objective: We examine how Facebook is used to promote health messages to Indigenous people and discuss how KT can support planning and implementing health messages to ensure chosen strategies are fit for purpose and achieve impact. Methods: Conducted a desktop audit of health promotion campaigns on smoking prevention and cessation for Australian Indigenous people. Results: Our audit of health promotion campaigns on smoking prevention and cessation for Australian Indigenous people identified thirteen out of 21 eligible campaigns used Facebook. Facebook pages with the highest number of likes (greater than 5000) linked to a website and to other social media applications and demonstrated stickiness characteristics by posting frequently (triggers and unexpected), recruiting sporting or public personalities to promote campaigns (social currency and public), recruiting Indigenous people from the local region (stories and emotion), and sharing stories and experiences based on real life events (credible). Conclusions: KT planning may support campaigns to identify and select KT strategies that are best suited and well aligned to the campaigns’ goals, messages and target audiences. KT planning can also help to mitigate unforeseen and expected risks, reduce unwarranted costs and expenses, achieve goals, and limit the peer pressure of using strategies that may not be fit for purpose. One of the main challenges in using KT systems and processes involves coming to an adequate conceptualisation of the KT process itself.
An Evaluation of a Smartphone-Assisted Behavioral Weight Control Intervention for Adolescents: Pilot Study
Date Submitted: May 26, 2016
Open Peer Review Period: May 29, 2016 - Jul 24, 2016
Background: The efficacy of adolescent weight control treatments is modest and effective treatments are costly and are not widely available. Smartphones may be an effective method for delivering criti...
Background: The efficacy of adolescent weight control treatments is modest and effective treatments are costly and are not widely available. Smartphones may be an effective method for delivering critical components of behavioral weight control treatment, including behavioral self-monitoring. Objective: This study examined the efficacy and acceptability of a smartphone-assisted adolescent behavioral weight control intervention. Methods: Sixteen overweight/obese adolescents (M age = 14.29, SD = 1.12) received 12 weeks of combined treatment consisting of weekly in-person group behavioral weight control treatment sessions plus smartphone self-monitoring and daily text messaging. Subsequently they received 12 weeks of electronic-only intervention, totaling 24 weeks of intervention. Results: On average participants attained modest but significant reductions in body mass index standard score (zBMI; .08 standard deviation units, t(13) = 2.22, P = .04, d = 0.63) over the in-person plus electronic intervention period but did not maintain treatment gains over the electronic-only intervention period. Participants self-monitored on approximately half of combined intervention days but less than 20% of electronic-only intervention days. Conclusions: Smartphones likely hold promise as a component of adolescent weight control interventions but they may be less effective in helping adolescents maintain treatment gains after intensive interventions. Clinical Trial: none
Exploratory Study of funding and commercialization strategies for sustainable adoption and scale-up of mHealth initiatives in the LMICs.
Date Submitted: May 20, 2016
Open Peer Review Period: May 25, 2016 - Jul 20, 2016
Background: The new Sustainable Development Goals consist of 17 goals among which Universal Health Coverage (SDG3) and Partnerships for the Goals (SDG17) are two of the most relevant for our purposes....
Background: The new Sustainable Development Goals consist of 17 goals among which Universal Health Coverage (SDG3) and Partnerships for the Goals (SDG17) are two of the most relevant for our purposes. (1) With rapid growth and daily innovations, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has become the cornerstone of transforming global health care industry all around the world. Wide penetration of internet and mobile networks in many low and middle income countries (LMICs) has brought about new ideas and promises for better access, lower costs and higher quality of health services in remote areas. To make this promise come true, the ICT and global health industry along with a vast number of user and provider stakeholders have developed hundreds of transboundary mHealth ecosystems to leverage the provision and distribution of equitable health services operation, management and control through various mHealth initiatives. However, the lack of empirical evidence supporting the cost, performance and health outcomes of mHealth initiatives have impeded post pilot scale up, implementation and integration of mobile technologies in many health systems. On the same note, with limited financial and structural resources and without supporting empirical evidence the LMICs which are most likely to benefit from sustainable mHealth interventions, often do not manage to grab the attention of public and private partners to secure sustainable investments for scale up phase. Results of this study show that in agreement with the SDG17 and the comparative Net Utility equation, some elemental components for a successful business partnership, i.e.; “balance in value gain for the economic buyer and the funder”, “use of value capturing commercialization strategies with attention to stakeholders, Technology and contextual requirements, and “insurers’ contributions” need to get more concentrated attention before the sustainability of scale-up of mHealth projects can be achieved. Objective: This study is to show the necessity of ongoing market analyses to investigate the best practices for keeping mHealth initiatives sustainable for its adopters throughout its life cycle. Methods: The novel nature of our paper’s subject along with the authors’ concern to study a larger number of variables that could influence the paper’s suggested strategies, have encouraged us to use the Qualitative Exploratory Research method as the best way to address the new and undisclosed problems within the commercial scope of the mHealth industry. Results: The results of this exploratory review suggest that there are certain factors that may directly or indirectly contribute to an affordable and sustainable scale-up and adoption of mHealth initiatives especially within resource-poor contexts. Interestingly, some elemental components for a successful business partnership, i.e.; “balance in value gain for the economic buyer and the funder”, “use of value capturing commercialization strategies with attention to stakeholders, Technology and contextual requirements, and “insurers’ contributions” need to get more profound attention before the sustainability of scale-up mHealth projects could be achieved. Conclusions: Discussed as the “Technology, Context and Commercialization Triangle”, the study suggests that for mHealth projects to be sustainable, three main aspects need to be taken into consideration at the same time. The first two aspects, which have been more commonly discussed in the body of literature, are cultural norms and technical infrastructure. Designing systems that would strengthen and integrate with the pre-existing technologies would motivate LMICs’ health authorities to support new mHealth projects. Also for the LMICs to be receptive to mHealth technologies, the applications should agree with the community’s culture and believes. The third aspect however, is beyond the technical and contextual requirements and looks more carefully into mHealth projects financing and commercialization models. It seems that even in the LMICs, the era of one-way donor-receiver relationship in development projects is coming to its end and for the mHealth projects to experience sustainable scale-up phases, donor-receiver relationship should turn into more “gain” oriented business partnerships with variety of public and private investors. Choosing the right partner at different stages of the projects’ life cycle is one of the delicate moments of mHealth business which has failed to be thoroughly discussed in the context of academia and industry. This study shows that not all stages of mHealth projects’ life cycle would respond equally to a single donor-based financing model, but specific financing strategies and engagement with different types of investors, businesses and technical partners; i.e. “public, private, NGOs and foundations” at infancy, development and maturity stages of mHealth projects may increase the chances for more sustainable scale-up phases in resource-poor countries. Last but not least, similar to their movement in the developed countries, supportive financial systems such as health insurers should start to consider the LMICs’ population as a new segment. The authors suggest that further studies are needed to assess the relevance of these findings within the contextual realities that permeate the LMIC sphere.