JMIR Publications

JMIR mHealth and uHealth

Mobile and tablet apps, ubiquitous and pervasive computing, wearable computing and domotics for health.

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Journal Description

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 2014: 3.4). JMIR mHealth and uHealth has a projected impact factor (2015) of about 1.9. 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 is indexed in PubMed Central/PubMed and also the Thomson Reuters Emerging Sources Citation IndexESCI

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.

 

Recent Articles:

  • TOC Image licensed to Group Health Research Institute. ©iStock.com/Anna Bryukhanova.
Source URL: http://www.istockphoto.com/photo/iphone-4s-and-cigarette-in-woman-hands-gm458939273-21329102.

    Design Considerations for Smoking Cessation Apps: Feedback From Nicotine Dependence Treatment Providers and Smokers

    Abstract:

    Background: Hundreds of smoking cessation apps are commercially available, but most are not theory-based or designed to take advantage of mobile technology in ways that could make them more engaging and possibly more effective. Considering input from both clinical experts (who understand best practice nicotine dependence treatment requirements) to inform appropriate content and from smokers (the end users) to express their preferences is important in designing these programs in the future. Objective: To assess and compare the opinions of nicotine dependence treatment providers and smokers regarding the design of future smoking cessation apps. Methods: We surveyed providers (n=264) and smokers who own smartphones (n=40) to assess their opinions on the importance of 21 app design features. Features represented 5 domains: cost, reputation, privacy and security, content and user experience, and communication. Domains were chosen to reflect best practice treatment, leverage mobile technology to support smoking cessation, and elicit important user preferences. Data were collected between June and July 2015. Results: Most providers agreed that mHealth apps hold promise for helping people quit smoking (203/264, 76.9%) and would recommend them to their clients/patients (201/264, 76.1%), especially if the app were empirically validated (236/264, 89.4%). Few providers believe effective cessation apps currently exist (112/264, 42.4%). Few smokers (5/40, 13%) had ever downloaded a smoking cessation app; of the ones who had not, most said they would consider doing so (29/35, 83%). Both respondent groups indicated the following features were very to extremely important to include in cessation apps: free or low cost, keeps information private, matches individual needs and interests, adapts as one’s needs and interests change, helps to manage nicotine withdrawal symptoms and medication side effects, and allows users to track their progress. Providers and smokers also indicated gaming and social media connectivity were less important than other features. Despite these similarities, the groups had significantly different opinions about the relative importance of various features. In particular, providers rated privacy as the most important feature, whereas smokers rated low cost and the ability to adaptively tailor content as the most important features. Conclusions: Smoking cessation apps hold great promise as intervention tools but only if they engage users and appropriately treat nicotine dependence. Intervention development should take into consideration the perspectives of both treatment experts and smokers. This paper highlights important perspectives from each of these groups to be considered when designing future app-based smoking cessation programs.

  • Rating mobile health apps. © 2016 Adam C. Powell. Used with permission.

    Interrater Reliability of mHealth App Rating Measures: Analysis of Top Depression and Smoking Cessation Apps

    Abstract:

    Background: There are over 165,000 mHealth apps currently available to patients, but few have undergone an external quality review. Furthermore, no standardized review method exists, and little has been done to examine the consistency of the evaluation systems themselves. Objective: We sought to determine which measures for evaluating the quality of mHealth apps have the greatest interrater reliability. Methods: We identified 22 measures for evaluating the quality of apps from the literature. A panel of 6 reviewers reviewed the top 10 depression apps and 10 smoking cessation apps from the Apple iTunes App Store on these measures. Krippendorff’s alpha was calculated for each of the measures and reported by app category and in aggregate. Results: The measure for interactiveness and feedback was found to have the greatest overall interrater reliability (alpha=.69). Presence of password protection (alpha=.65), whether the app was uploaded by a health care agency (alpha=.63), the number of consumer ratings (alpha=.59), and several other measures had moderate interrater reliability (alphas>.5). There was the least agreement over whether apps had errors or performance issues (alpha=.15), stated advertising policies (alpha=.16), and were easy to use (alpha=.18). There were substantial differences in the interrater reliabilities of a number of measures when they were applied to depression versus smoking apps. Conclusions: We found wide variation in the interrater reliability of measures used to evaluate apps, and some measures are more robust across categories of apps than others. The measures with the highest degree of interrater reliability tended to be those that involved the least rater discretion. Clinical quality measures such as effectiveness, ease of use, and performance had relatively poor interrater reliability. Subsequent research is needed to determine consistent means for evaluating the performance of apps. Patients and clinicians should consider conducting their own assessments of apps, in conjunction with evaluating information from reviews.

  • A woman is texting while sunbathing. In this JMIR paper, authors used the development of an app for safe UV exposure as a case study to develop guidelines on app development. Image Source: cc-by JohnnyMrNinja, licensed under Creative Commons 2.0, from Wikimedia https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Texting_while_sunbathing.jpg.

    Guidelines and Recommendations for Developing Interactive eHealth Apps for Complex Messaging in Health Promotion

    Abstract:

    Background: The now ubiquitous catchphrase, “There’s an app for that,” rings true owing to the growing number of mobile phone apps. In excess of 97,000 eHealth apps are available in major app stores. Yet the effectiveness of these apps varies greatly. While a minority of apps are developed grounded in theory and in conjunction with health care experts, the vast majority are not. This is concerning given the Hippocratic notion of “do no harm.” There is currently no unified formal theory for developing interactive eHealth apps, and development is especially difficult when complex messaging is required, such as in health promotion and prevention. Objective: This paper aims to provide insight into the creation of interactive eHealth apps for complex messaging, by leveraging the Safe-D case study, which involved complex messaging required to guide safe but sufficient UV exposure for vitamin D synthesis in users. We aim to create recommendations for developing interactive eHealth apps for complex messages based on the lessons learned during Safe-D app development. Methods: For this case study we developed an Apple and Android app, both named Safe-D, to safely improve vitamin D status in young women through encouraging safe ultraviolet radiation exposure. The app was developed through participatory action research involving medical and human computer interaction researchers, subject matter expert clinicians, external developers, and target users. The recommendations for development were created from analysis of the development process. Results: By working with clinicians and implementing disparate design examples from the literature, we developed the Safe-D app. From this development process, recommendations for developing interactive eHealth apps for complex messaging were created: (1) involve a multidisciplinary team in the development process, (2) manage complex messages to engage users, and (3) design for interactivity (tailor recommendations, remove barriers to use, design for simplicity). Conclusions: This research has provided principles for developing interactive eHealth apps for complex messaging as guidelines by aggregating existing design concepts and expanding these concepts and new learnings from our development process. A set of guidelines to develop interactive eHealth apps generally, and specifically those for complex messaging, was previously missing from the literature; this research has contributed these principles. Safe-D delivers complex messaging simply, to aid education, and explicitly, considering user safety.

  • Copyright(c) 2015 Jae All rights reserved.

    A Mobile App for Hypertension Management Based on Clinical Practice Guidelines: Development and Deployment

    Abstract:

    Background: Hypertension is a chronic and lifestyle-related disease that requires continuous preventive care. Although there are many evidence-based clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) for hypertension management, applying them to daily management can be difficult for patients with hypertension. A mobile app, based on CPGs, could help patients with hypertension manage their disease. Objective: To develop a mobile app for hypertension management based on CPGs and evaluate its effectiveness in patients with hypertension with respect to perceived usefulness, user satisfaction, and medication adherence. Methods: The hypertension management app (HMA) was developed according to the Web-Roadmap methodology, which includes planning, analysis, design, implementation, and evaluation phases. The HMA was provided to individuals (N=38) with hypertension. Medication adherence was measured before and after using the HMA for 4 weeks. The perceived usefulness and user satisfaction were surveyed in the patients who completed the medication adherence survey. Results: Of the 38 study participants, 29 (76%) participated in medical adherence assessment. Medication adherence, as measured by the Modified Morisky Scale, was significantly improved in these patients after they had used the HMA (P=.001). The perceived usefulness score was 3.7 out of 5. The user satisfaction scores, with respect to using the HMA for blood pressure recording, medication recording, data sending, alerting, recommending, and educating about medication were 4.3, 3.8, 3.1, 3.2, 3.4, and 3.8 out of 5, respectively, in the 19 patients. Conclusions: This study showed that a mobile app for hypertension management based on CPGs is effective at improving medication adherence.

  • App screenshot.

    Mobile Phone Apps for Inflammatory Bowel Disease Self-Management: A Systematic Assessment of Content and Tools

    Abstract:

    Background: The rising incidence of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) over the past decade has resulted in increased health care utilization and longer IBD outpatient waiting lists. Self-management is recognized as an important aspect of chronic disease management but its application to IBD has been limited. The age of IBD onset in a majority of patients is in their 20s to 30s. Mobile phone apps are a technology familiar to young adults and represent an opportunity to explore self-management as a new model of health care delivery for IBD. Objective: The aim of this study was to explore the content and tools of existing IBD apps to identify functionalities that may facilitate patient self-management. Methods: We systematically assessed apps targeted at IBD patients via searches of Google (Android devices) and Apple (iOS devices) app stores with pre-defined inclusion and exclusion criteria. Apps were assessed for specific functionalities; presence of professional medical involvement; consistency with international IBD guidelines based on “complete,” “partial,” or “absent” coverage of consensus statements derived from the European Crohn’s and Colitis Organisation, American College of Gastroenterology, and the Gastroenterology Society of Australia; comprehensiveness of data that could be entered; and average pricing. Results: Of the 238 apps screened, 26 apps were assessed, including 10 available on Android platforms, 8 on iOS platforms, and 8 on both. Over half (14/26, 54%) of the apps had diary functionalities; over a third (10/26, 39%) provided health information about IBD. None of the apps offered decision support to facilitate the self-initiation of medical therapy. Five of 26 (19%) had professional medical involvement in their design. Apps demonstrated “complete” coverage of only 38% of the international consensus statements explored. The average price of the apps was AUD$1.37. Conclusions: Apps may provide a useful adjunct to the management of IBD patients. However, a majority of current apps suffer from a lack of professional medical involvement and limited coverage of international consensus guidelines. Future studies and app design for IBD should include professional medical involvement, evidence-based guidelines, and functionalities with decision support that are specifically tailored to patient self-management.

  • Copyright Kelly Grindrod.

    Acceptance of Commercially Available Wearable Activity Trackers Among Adults Aged Over 50 and With Chronic Illness: A Mixed-Methods Evaluation

    Abstract:

    Background: Physical inactivity and sedentary behavior increase the risk of chronic illness and death. The newest generation of “wearable” activity trackers offers potential as a multifaceted intervention to help people become more active. Objective: To examine the usability and usefulness of wearable activity trackers for older adults living with chronic illness. Methods: We recruited a purposive sample of 32 participants over the age of 50, who had been previously diagnosed with a chronic illness, including vascular disease, diabetes, arthritis, and osteoporosis. Participants were between 52 and 84 years of age (mean 64); among the study participants, 23 (72%) were women and the mean body mass index was 31 kg/m2. Participants tested 5 trackers, including a simple pedometer (Sportline or Mio) followed by 4 wearable activity trackers (Fitbit Zip, Misfit Shine, Jawbone Up 24, and Withings Pulse) in random order. Selected devices represented the range of wearable products and features available on the Canadian market in 2014. Participants wore each device for at least 3 days and evaluated it using a questionnaire developed from the Technology Acceptance Model. We used focus groups to explore participant experiences and a thematic analysis approach to data collection and analysis. Results: Our study resulted in 4 themes: (1) adoption within a comfort zone; (2) self-awareness and goal setting; (3) purposes of data tracking; and (4) future of wearable activity trackers as health care devices. Prior to enrolling, few participants were aware of wearable activity trackers. Most also had been asked by a physician to exercise more and cited this as a motivation for testing the devices. None of the participants planned to purchase the simple pedometer after the study, citing poor accuracy and data loss, whereas 73% (N=32) planned to purchase a wearable activity tracker. Preferences varied but 50% felt they would buy a Fitbit and 42% felt they would buy a Misfit, Jawbone, or Withings. The simple pedometer had a mean acceptance score of 56/95 compared with 63 for the Withings, 65 for the Misfit and Jawbone, and 68 for the Fitbit. To improve usability, older users may benefit from devices that have better compatibility with personal computers or less-expensive Android mobile phones and tablets, and have comprehensive paper-based user manuals and apps that interpret user data. Conclusions: For older adults living with chronic illness, wearable activity trackers are perceived as useful and acceptable. New users may need support to both set up the device and learn how to interpret their data.

  • Phone in hand image: http://www.fotosearch.com/CSP995/k16940782/
Moodhacker image: Copyright ORCAS 2010-2016.

    MoodHacker Mobile Web App With Email for Adults to Self-Manage Mild-to-Moderate Depression: Randomized Controlled Trial

    Abstract:

    Background: Worldwide, depression is rated as the fourth leading cause of disease burden and is projected to be the second leading cause of disability by 2020. Annual depression-related costs in the United States are estimated at US $210.5 billion, with employers bearing over 50% of these costs in productivity loss, absenteeism, and disability. Because most adults with depression never receive treatment, there is a need to develop effective interventions that can be more widely disseminated through new channels, such as employee assistance programs (EAPs), and directly to individuals who will not seek face-to-face care. Objective: This study evaluated a self-guided intervention, using the MoodHacker mobile Web app to activate the use of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) skills in working adults with mild-to-moderate depression. It was hypothesized that MoodHacker users would experience reduced depression symptoms and negative cognitions, and increased behavioral activation, knowledge of depression, and functioning in the workplace. Methods: A parallel two-group randomized controlled trial was conducted with 300 employed adults exhibiting mild-to-moderate depression. Participants were recruited from August 2012 through April 2013 in partnership with an EAP and with outreach through a variety of additional non-EAP organizations. Participants were blocked on race/ethnicity and then randomly assigned within each block to receive, without clinical support, either the MoodHacker intervention (n=150) or alternative care consisting of links to vetted websites on depression (n=150). Participants in both groups completed online self-assessment surveys at baseline, 6 weeks after baseline, and 10 weeks after baseline. Surveys assessed (1) depression symptoms, (2) behavioral activation, (3) negative thoughts, (4) worksite outcomes, (5) depression knowledge, and (6) user satisfaction and usability. After randomization, all interactions with subjects were automated with the exception of safety-related follow-up calls to subjects reporting current suicidal ideation and/or severe depression symptoms. Results: At 6-week follow-up, significant effects were found on depression, behavioral activation, negative thoughts, knowledge, work productivity, work absence, and workplace distress. MoodHacker yielded significant effects on depression symptoms, work productivity, work absence, and workplace distress for those who reported access to an EAP, but no significant effects on these outcome measures for those without EAP access. Participants in the treatment arm used the MoodHacker app an average of 16.0 times (SD 13.3), totaling an average of 1.3 hours (SD 1.3) of use between pretest and 6-week follow-up. Significant effects on work absence in those with EAP access persisted at 10-week follow-up. Conclusions: This randomized effectiveness trial found that the MoodHacker app produced significant effects on depression symptoms (partial eta2 = .021) among employed adults at 6-week follow-up when compared to subjects with access to relevant depression Internet sites. The app had stronger effects for individuals with access to an EAP (partial eta2 = .093). For all users, the MoodHacker program also yielded greater improvement on work absence, as well as the mediating factors of behavioral activation, negative thoughts, and knowledge of depression self-care. Significant effects were maintained at 10-week follow-up for work absence. General attenuation of effects at 10-week follow-up underscores the importance of extending program contacts to maintain user engagement. This study suggests that light-touch, CBT-based mobile interventions like MoodHacker may be appropriate for implementation within EAPs and similar environments. In addition, it seems likely that supporting MoodHacker users with guidance from counselors may improve effectiveness for those who seek in-person support. Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02335554; https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02335554 (Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/6dGXKWjWE)

  • A mobile phone-based app to stimulate daily physical activity in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

    A Mobile Phone App to Stimulate Daily Physical Activity in Patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: Development, Feasibility, and Pilot Studies

    Abstract:

    Background: Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) demonstrate reduced levels of daily physical activity (DPA) compared to healthy controls. This results in a higher risk of hospital admission and shorter survival. Performing regular DPA reduces these risks. Objective: To develop an eHealth intervention that will support patients with COPD to improve or maintain their DPA after pulmonary rehabilitation. Methods: The design process consisted of literature research and the iterative developing and piloting phases of the Medical Research Council (MRC) model for complex clinical interventions and the involvement of end users. Participants were healthy adults and persons with COPD. Results: The mobile phone interface met all the set requirements. Participants found that the app was stimulating and that reaching their DPA goals was rewarding. The mean (SD) scores on a 7-point scale for usability, ease of use, ease of learning, and contentment were 3.8 (1.8), 5.1 (1.1), 6.0 (1.6), and 4.8 (1.3), respectively. The mean (SD) correlation between the mobile phone and a validated accelerometer was 0.88 (0.12) in the final test. The idea of providing their health care professional with their DPA data caused no privacy issues in the participants. Battery life lasted for an entire day with the final version, and readability and comprehensibility of text and colors were favorable. Conclusions: By employing a user-centered design approach, a mobile phone was found to be an adequate and feasible interface for an eHealth intervention. The mobile phone and app are easy to learn and use by patients with COPD. In the final test, the accuracy of the DPA measurement was good. The final version of the eHealth intervention is presently being tested by our group for efficacy in a randomized controlled trial in COPD patients.

  • Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/88/PharmAccess_mHealth_1.jpg
Credit: By Elmvh (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons.

    Unpacking the Black Box: A Formative Research Approach to the Development of Theory-Driven, Evidence-Based, and Culturally Safe Text Messages in Mobile...

    Abstract:

    Background: Mobile-cellular subscriptions have increased steadily over the past decade. The accessibility of SMS messages over existing mobile networks is high and has almost universal availability even on older and unsophisticated mobile phones and in geographic settings where wireless coverage is weak. There is intensive exploration of this inexpensive mobile telecommunication technology to improve health services and promote behavior change among vulnerable populations. However, a neglected area of research is the documentation and critical analysis of the formative research process required in the development and refinement of effective SMS messages. Objective: The objective of this qualitative research study was to identify major factors that may impact on the effectiveness of evidence-based SMS messages designed to reduce health inequities in hypertension management in low resource settings, including Aboriginal populations in high-income countries and rural populations in low-income countries. Specifically, we were interested in uncovering the range of mediators that impact on appropriate message content transmission and, ultimately, on health behavior improvements in a range of these sociocultural settings. Methods: Collaborative qualitative research with Canadian Aboriginal and Tanzanian participants was conducted to deconstruct the content and transmission of evidence-based health information contained in SMS messages in the context of an international research project designed to address health inequalities in hypertension, and to develop a grounded theory of the major factors that mediate the effectiveness of this communication. We also examined the interrelationship of these mediators with the three essential conditions of the behavior system of the Behavioral Change Wheel model (capability, opportunity, and motivation) and cultural safety. Results: Four focus groups with a total of 45 participants were conducted. Our grounded theory research revealed how discrepancies develop between the evidence-based text message created by researchers and the message received by the recipient in mobile health interventions. These discrepancies were primarily generated by six mediators of meaning in SMS messages: (1) negative or non-affirming framing of advocacies, (2) fear- or stress-inducing content, (3) oppressive or authoritarian content, (4) incongruity with cultural and traditional practices, (5) disconnect with the reality of the social determinants of health and the diversity of cultures within a population, and (6) lack of clarity and/or practicality of content. These 6 mediators of meaning provide the basis for sound strategies for message development because they impact directly on the target populations’ capability, opportunity, and motivation for behavior change. Conclusions: The quality of text messages impacts significantly on the effectiveness of a mobile health intervention. Our research underscores the urgent need for interventions to incorporate and evaluate the quality of SMS messages and to examine the mediators of meaning within each targeted cultural and demographic group. Reporting on this aspect of mobile health intervention research will allow researchers to move away from the current black box of SMS text message development, thus improving the transparency of the process as well as the quality of the outcomes.

  • Image Credit: Ekai, https://www.flickr.com/photos/ekai/10123541544/, licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

    Tracking Health Data Is Not Enough: A Qualitative Exploration of the Role of Healthcare Partnerships and mHealth Technology to Promote Physical Activity and...

    Abstract:

    Background: Despite the recent explosion of the mobile health (mHealth) industry and consumer acquisition of mHealth tools such as wearable sensors and applications (apps), limited information is known about how this technology can sustain health behavior change and be integrated into health care. Objective: The objective of the study was to understand potential users’ views of mHealth technology, the role this technology may have in promoting individual activity goals aimed at improving health, and the value of integrating mHealth technology with traditional health care. Methods: Four focus groups were conducted with adults interested in sharing their views on how mHealth technology could support wellness programs and improve health. Participants (n=30) were enrolled from an employee population at an academic health institution. Qualitative thematic analysis was used to code transcripts and identify overarching themes. Results: Our findings suggest that tracking health data alone may result in heightened awareness of daily activity, yet may not be sufficient to sustain use of mHealth technology and apps, which often have low reuse rates. Participants suggested that context, meaning, and health care partnerships need to be incorporated to engage and retain users. In addition to these findings, drivers for mHealth technology previously identified in the literature, including integration and control of health data were confirmed in this study. Conclusions: This study explores ways that mHealth technologies may be used to not only track data, but to encourage sustained engagement to achieve individual health goals. Implications of these findings include recommendations for mHealth technology design and health care partnership models to sustain motivation and engagement, allowing individuals to achieve meaningful behavior change.

  • Potential of mHealth in the Pacific (Image taken by the authors who hold the copyright).

    Possibilities and Expectations for mHealth in the Pacific Islands: Insights From Key Informants

    Abstract:

    Background: The increase in mobile phone use across the globe is creating mounting interest for its application in addressing health system constraints. Although still limited, there is growing evidence of success in using mobile phones for health (mHealth) in low- and middle- income countries. The promise of mHealth to address key health system issues presents a huge potential for the Pacific Island countries where mobile use has radically increased. Current projections indicate an improved information and communications technology (ICT) environment to support greater access to mobile and digital devices in the Pacific region. Objective: The objective of the study was to explore key stakeholder perspectives on the potential for mHealth in the Pacific region. Methods: A series of in-depth interviews were conducted either face-to-face, via Skype or by email, with a series of key informants from the Pacific Rim region. Interviews were audio-recorded and later transcribed for detailed thematic analysis. Results: We found widespread support for the potential to use mobile phones as a mechanism to facilitate improved health service delivery in the region. Essential elements for the successful development and implementation of mHealth were identified by these stakeholders. These included: developing an understanding of the local context and the problems that may be usefully addressed by the addition of mHealth to existing strategies and services; consideration of local infrastructure, capability, policy, mobile literacy and engagement; learning from others, particularly other low- and middle-income countries (LMICs); the importance of building supportive environments and of evaluation to provide evidence of impact and total cost. Conclusions: The rapid growth of mobile phone use in the region presents a unique juxtaposition of opportunity and promise. Though the region lags behind other LMICs in the adoption of mHealth technologies, this offers the convenience of learning from past mHealth interventions and applying these learnings to achieve scale, sustainability and success. This study deepens the understanding of the potential of mHealth for the region, and offers a baseline from which discussions can be made to examine the limitations, barriers and complexities inherent in mHealth applications.

  • Screenshots of the

    Mobile Phone Apps for the Prevention of Unintended Pregnancy: A Systematic Review and Content Analysis

    Abstract:

    Background: Over 50% of pregnancies in the United States are unintended, meaning that the pregnancy is mistimed, unplanned, or unwanted. Unintended pregnancy increases health risks for mother and child, leads to high economic costs for society, and increases social disparities. Mobile phone ownership is rapidly increasing, providing opportunities to reach at-risk populations with reproductive health information and tailored unintended pregnancy prevention interventions through mobile phone apps. However, apps that offer support for unintended pregnancy prevention remain unevaluated. Objective: To identify, describe, and evaluate mobile phone apps that purport to help users prevent unintended pregnancy. Methods: We conducted an extensive search of the Apple iTunes and Android Google Play stores for apps that explicitly included or advertised pregnancy prevention or decision-making support in the context of fertility information/tracking, birth control reminders, contraceptive information, pregnancy decision-making, abortion information or counseling, sexual communication/negotiation, and pregnancy tests. We excluded apps that targeted medical professionals or that cost more than US $1.99. Eligible apps were downloaded and categorized by primary purpose. Data extraction was performed on a minimum of 143 attributes in 3 domains: (1) pregnancy prevention best practices, (2) contraceptive methods and clinical services, and (3) user interface. Apps were assigned points for their inclusion of features overall and for pregnancy prevention best practices and contraceptive information. Results: Our search identified 6805 app descriptions in iTunes and Google Play. Of these, 218 unique apps met inclusion criteria and were included in the review. Apps were grouped into 9 categories: fertility trackers (n=72), centers and resources (n=38), birth control reminders (n=35), general sexual and reproductive health (SRH) information (n=17), SRH information targeted specifically to young adults (YA) (n=16), contraceptive information (n=15), service or condom locators (n=12), pregnancy tests (n=10), and games (n=3). Twelve apps scored at least 50 points (out of 94) for overall number of features and at least 15 points (out of 21) for contraceptive information and pregnancy prevention best practices. Overall, 41% of apps did not mention any modern contraceptive methods and 23% mentioned only 1 method. Of apps that did mention a modern contraceptive method, fewer than 50% of these apps provided information on how to use it. YA SRH apps had the highest percentage of pregnancy prevention best practices in each app. Demographic and interface evaluation found that most apps (72%) did not target any race and only 10% explicitly targeted youth. Communication interface features were present in fewer than 50% of apps. Conclusions: This review identified several useful, evidence-based apps that support the prevention of unintended pregnancy. However, most apps miss opportunities to provide users with valuable information, interactive decision aids, and evidence-based interventions for unintended pregnancy prevention. Further, some apps in this space may increase the likelihood of unintended pregnancy due to the low effectiveness of the contraceptive methods promoted.

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    Date Submitted: Feb 3, 2016

    Open Peer Review Period: Feb 6, 2016 - Apr 2, 2016

    Background: As mobile penetration continues to grow in India, it is expected that Indian men who have sex with men populations will begin to use mobile Geosocial Networking (GSN) applications to find...

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    Date Submitted: Jan 29, 2016

    Open Peer Review Period: Jan 30, 2016 - Mar 26, 2016

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    Open Peer Review Period: Jan 22, 2016 - Mar 18, 2016

    Background: Aortic stenosis (AS) is the most common heart valve disease in developed countries. Recent advancements substantially improved patients’ outcome but also made clinical management more co...

    Background: Aortic stenosis (AS) is the most common heart valve disease in developed countries. Recent advancements substantially improved patients’ outcome but also made clinical management more complex. Given the large amount of information that should be taken into account, a mobile application would be of help to the clinician. Objective: Hence, we developed TAVIApp, a mobile application that supports physicians for AS management. Aim of the present study was to describe TAVIApp and test the feasibility and reliability of TAVIApp. Methods: To test the reliability and usefulness of TAVIapp, 23 consecutive patients were blindly evaluated by: 1) an interventional cardiologist with long-standing experience, assisted by the Heart Team (EXPERT), 2) a young resident in Cardiology supported by TAVIApp (TAVIApp). Results: We found no difference in the classification match for the diagnosis of severe aortic stenosis (p<0.001), and eligibility assessment (p<0.001). Furthermore, no difference was found between the EXPERT and TAVIApp groups in the selection of the most appropriate prosthesis size (p<0.001). Conclusions: The present study is the first to describe and validate a new mobile application to support the management of patients with aortic stenosis. TAVIapp supports the cardiologist in the evaluation of stenosis severity, in the assessment of eligibility for TAVR or AVR and to select the most appropriate prosthesis size and vascular access in individual patients.

  • Remotely delivered exercise-based cardiac rehabilitation: design and content development of a novel mHealth platform

    Date Submitted: Jan 4, 2016

    Open Peer Review Period: Jan 22, 2016 - Mar 18, 2016

    Background: Participation in traditional supervised, centre-based exercise cardiac rehabilitation is limited by accessibility barriers. Mobile health (mHealth) technologies can overcome these barriers...

    Background: Participation in traditional supervised, centre-based exercise cardiac rehabilitation is limited by accessibility barriers. Mobile health (mHealth) technologies can overcome these barriers while preserving critical attributes of centre-based exCR, exercise monitoring and coaching, but these opportunities have not yet been capitalised on. Objective: Design and develop an evidence- and theory-based mHealth platform for remote delivery of exCR into almost any location. Methods: An iterative process was undertaken to design and develop an evidence- ad theory-based mHealth platform (REMOTE-CR) that provides real-time remote exercise monitoring and coaching, behaviour change education, and social support. Results: The REMOTE-CR platform comprises a commercially available smartphone and wearable sensor, custom smartphone and web-based applications (apps), and a custom middleware. The platform allows exCR specialists to monitor patients exercise and provide individualised coaching in real-time, from almost any location, and provide behaviour change education and social support. Intervention content incorporates Social Cognitive Theory, Self-determination Theory, and a taxonomy of behaviour change techniques. Exercise components are based on guidelines for clinical exercise prescription. Conclusions: The REMOTE-CR platform extends the capabilities of previous telehealth exCR platforms and narrows the gap between existing centre- and home-based exCR services. REMOTE-CR can complement centre-based exCR by providing an alternative option for patients whose needs are not currently being met. Remotely monitored exCR may be more cost-effective than establishing additional centre-based programmes. The effectiveness and acceptability of REMOTE-CR are now being evaluated in a non-inferiority randomised controlled trial

  • Feasibility of home blood pressure measurement using smartphone-assisted technology: the iVitality Proof of Principle study

    Date Submitted: Jan 4, 2016

    Open Peer Review Period: Jan 22, 2016 - Mar 18, 2016

    Background: Smartphone-assisted technologies provide the opportunity to optimize feasibility of long-term blood pressure (BP) monitoring at home, with the potential of large-scale data collection. M...

    Background: Smartphone-assisted technologies provide the opportunity to optimize feasibility of long-term blood pressure (BP) monitoring at home, with the potential of large-scale data collection. Methods We used iVitality, a research platform that comprises a website, a smartphone-based application and health sensors, to measure BP and several other health characteristics. Office BP was measured twice at baseline; home BP was measured on four days during the first week and thereafter at semimonthly (one day) or monthly intervals (two days), for which participants recieved reminders on their smartphone Objective: In this proof-of-principle study we evaluated the feasibility of home BP monitoring during a six months period using smartphone-assisted technology, by investigating 1) the association between office and home BP measurements; 2) adherence to reminders on the smartphone to perform home BP measurements; and 3) frequency of referrals to the general practitioner (GP) and BP reduction after diagnosis of an elevated home BP. Methods: We used iVitality, a research platform that comprises a website, a smartphone-based application and health sensors, to measure BP and several other health characteristics. Office BP was measured twice at baseline; home BP was measured on four days during the first week and thereafter at semimonthly (one day) or monthly intervals (two days), for which participants received reminders on their smartphone. Results: We included 151 participants (mean age (SD) 57.3 (5.3) years). Office BP was systematically higher when compared to home BP measurements (mean difference systolic BP (SE) 8.72 (1.08) and diastolic BP 5.81 (0.68) mmHg respectively). Correlation of office and home measurements of BP was high (R=0.72 for systolic BP and 0.72 for diastolic BP, both p<0.001). Adherence was better in participants measuring semimonthly (71.4%) compared to participants performing monthly measurements (64.3%, p=0.008). During the study, 41 (27.2%) participants were referred to their GP because of a high BP. Referred participants had a decrease in their BP during follow-up (mean difference final and initial (SE) -5.29 (1.92) for systolic BP and -2.93 (1.08) for diastolic BP, both p<0.05). Conclusions: Conclusion Smartphone-assisted technology is a reliable and promising method with good adherence to measure blood pressure at home during a six months period. This provides a possibility for implementation in large-scale studies and can potentially contribute to blood pressure reduction.

  • We must take new strategy to control diabetes in China:Is it mobile medicine?

    Date Submitted: Jan 17, 2016

    Open Peer Review Period: Jan 20, 2016 - Mar 16, 2016

    Diabetes has become one of the most challenging public health problems in China.To strengthen diabetes control, the Chinese government proposed combined involvement of multi-department, collaborations...

    Diabetes has become one of the most challenging public health problems in China.To strengthen diabetes control, the Chinese government proposed combined involvement of multi-department, collaborations, public measures, and social mobilization.here are still a high number of diabetes sufferers whose diseases are not properly and/or timely diagnosed and/or controlled.We must take new strategy to control diabetes. Mobile medicine has the potential to help solve the growing diabetes crisis.

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