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Journal Description

JMIR mHealth and uHealth (JMU, ISSN 2291-5222; Impact Factor 4.301) is a sister journal of JMIR, the leading eHealth journal. JMIR mHealth and uHealth is indexed in PubMed, PubMed Central, Scopus, MEDLINE and Science Citation Index Expanded (SCIE), and in June 2019 received an Impact Factor of 4.301, which ranks the journal #2 (behind JMIR) in the medical informatics category indexed by the Science Citation Index Expanded (SCIE) by Thomson Reuters/Clarivate

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 since 2013 and was the first mhealth journal in Pubmed. It 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

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.


Recent Articles:

  • Source: / Pexels; Copyright:; URL:; License: Licensed by JMIR.

    The Validity of Daily Self-Assessed Perceived Stress Measured Using Smartphones in Healthy Individuals: Cohort Study


    Background: Smartphones may offer a new and easy tool to assess stress, but the validity has never been investigated. Objective: This study aimed to investigate (1) the validity of smartphone-based self-assessed stress compared with Cohen Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) and (2) whether smartphone-based self-assessed stress correlates with neuroticism (Eysenck Personality Questionnaire-Neuroticism, EPQ-N), psychosocial functioning (Functioning Assessment Short Test, FAST), and prior stressful life events (Kendler Questionnaire for Stressful Life Events, SLE). Methods: A cohort of 40 healthy blood donors with no history of personal or first-generation family history of psychiatric illness and who used an Android smartphone were instructed to self-assess their stress level daily (on a scale from 0 to 2; beta values reflect this scale) for 4 months. At baseline, participants were assessed with the FAST rater-blinded and filled out the EPQ, the PSS, and the SLE. The PSS assessment was repeated after 4 months. Results: In linear mixed-effect regression and linear regression models, there were statistically significant positive correlations between self-assessed stress and the PSS (beta=.0167; 95% CI 0.0070-0.0026; P=.001), the EPQ-N (beta=.0174; 95% CI 0.0023-0.0325; P=.02), and the FAST (beta=.0329; 95% CI 0.0036-0.0622; P=.03). No correlation was found between smartphone-based self-assessed stress and the SLE. Conclusions: Daily smartphone-based self-assessed stress seems to be a valid measure of perceived stress. Our study contains a modest sample of 40 healthy participants and adds knowledge to a new but growing field of research. Smartphone-based self-assessed stress is a promising tool for measuring stress in real time in future studies of stress and stress-related behavior.

  • DigiPen used for digital documentation. Source: Image created by the Authors; Copyright: Martin Kulla; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Analysis of Digital Documentation Speed and Sequence Using Digital Paper and Pen Technology During the Refugee Crisis in Europe: Content Analysis


  • Source:; Copyright: Sajjad Hussain M; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Using Telemedicine to Diagnose Surgical Site Infections in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: Systematic Review


    Background: A high burden of preventable morbidity and mortality due to surgical site infections (SSIs) occurs in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), and most of these SSIs occur following discharge. There is a high loss to follow-up due to a wide geographical spread of patients, and cost of travel can result in delayed and missed diagnoses. Objective: This review analyzes the literature surrounding the use of telemedicine and assesses the feasibility of using mobile phone technology to both diagnose SSIs remotely in LMICs and to overcome social barriers. Methods: A literature search was performed using Medline, Embase, CINAHL, PubMed, Web of Science, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials and Google Scholar. Included were English language papers reporting the use of telemedicine for detecting SSIs in comparison to the current practice of direct clinical diagnosis. Papers were excluded if infections were not due to surgical wounds, or if SSIs were not validated with in-person diagnosis. The primary outcome of this review was to review the feasibility of telemedicine for remote SSI detection. Results: A total of 404 articles were screened and three studies were identified that reported on 2082 patients across three countries. All studies assessed the accuracy of remote diagnosis of SSIs using predetermined telephone questionnaires. In total, 44 SSIs were accurately detected using telemedicine and an additional 14 were picked up on clinical follow-up. Conclusions: The use of telemedicine has shown to be a feasible method in remote diagnosis of SSIs. Telemedicine is a useful adjunct for clinical practice in LMICs to decrease loss to postsurgical follow-up.

  • Source: freepik; Copyright: freepik; URL:; License: Licensed by JMIR.

    A Mobile Phone App Featuring Cue Exposure Therapy As Aftercare for Alcohol Use Disorders: An Investigator-Blinded Randomized Controlled Trial


    Background: Cue exposure therapy (CET) is a psychological approach developed to prepare individuals with alcohol use disorder (AUD) for confronting alcohol and associated stimuli in real life. CET has shown promise when treating AUD in group sessions, but it is unknown whether progressing from group sessions to using a mobile phone app is an effective delivery pathway. Methods: A total of 164 individuals with AUD were randomized to one of three groups: CET as group aftercare (CET group), CET as fully automated mobile phone app aftercare (CET app), or aftercare as usual. Study outcomes were assessed face-to-face at preaftercare, postaftercare, and again at 6 months after aftercare treatment. Generalized mixed models were used to compare the trajectories of the groups over time on drinking, cravings, and use of urge-specific coping skills (USCS). Results: In all, 153 of 164 individuals (93%) completed assessments both at posttreatment and 6-month follow-up assessments. No differences in the trajectories of predicted means were found between the experimental groups (CET group and app) compared with aftercare as usual on drinking and craving outcomes over time. Both CET group (predicted mean difference 5.99, SE 2.59, z=2.31, P=.02) and the CET app (predicted mean difference 4.90, SE 2.26, z=2.31, P=.02) showed increased use of USCS compared to aftercare as usual at posttreatment, but this effect was reduced at the 6-month follow-up. No differences were detected between the two experimental CET groups on any outcomes. Conclusions: CET with USCS delivered as aftercare either via group sessions or a mobile phone app did not increase the effectiveness of primary treatment. This suggests that CET with USCS may not be an effective psychological approach for the aftercare of individuals treated for AUD.

  • NeMo band and smartphone app on a NeoNatalie inflatable simulator. Source: Image created by the Authors; Copyright: The Authors; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    A Novel Mobile Health Tool for Home-Based Identification of Neonatal Illness in Uganda: Formative Usability Study


    Background: While early identification of neonatal illness can impact neonatal mortality rates and reduce the burden of treatment, identifying subtle clinical signs and symptoms of possible severe illness is especially challenging in neonates. The World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund developed the Integrated Management of Neonatal Childhood Illness guidelines, an evidence-based tool highlighting seven danger signs to assess neonatal health. Currently, many mothers in low-resource settings rely on home visits from community health workers (CHWs) to determine if their baby is sick. However, CHWs visit infrequently, and illness is often detected too late to impact survival. Thus, delays in illness identification pose a significant barrier to providing expedient and effective care. Neonatal Monitoring (NeMo), a novel neonatal assessment tool, seeks to increase the frequency of neonatal screening by task-shifting identification of neonatal danger signs from CHWs to mothers. Objective: This study aimed to explore the usability and acceptability of the NeMo system among target users and volunteer CHWs by assessing ease of use and learnability. Methods: Simulated device use and semistructured interviews were conducted with 32 women in the Iganga-Mayuge districts in eastern Uganda to evaluate the usability of the NeMo system, which involves a smartphone app paired with a low cost, wearable band to aid in identification of neonatal illness. Two versions of the app were evaluated using a mixed methods approach, and version II of the app contained modifications based on observations of the first cohort’s use of the system. During the posed scenario simulations, participants were offered limited guidance from the study team in order to probe the intuitiveness of the NeMo system. The ability to complete a set of tasks with the system was tested and recorded for each participant and closed- and open-ended questions were used to elicit user feedback. Additionally, focus groups with 12 CHWs were conducted to lend additional context and insight to the usability and feasibility assessment. Results: A total of 13/22 subjects (59%) using app version I and 9/10 subjects (90%) using app version II were able to use the phone and app with no difficulty, despite varying levels of smartphone experience. Following modifications to the app’s audio instructions in version II, participants’ ability to accurately answer qualitative questions concerning neonatal danger signs improved by at least 200% for each qualitative danger sign. All participants agreed they would trust and use the NeMo system to assess the health of their babies. Furthermore, CHWs emphasized the importance of community sensitization towards the system to encourage its adoption and regular use, as well as the decision to seek care based on its recommendations. Conclusions: The NeMo system is an intuitive platform for neonatal assessment in a home setting and was found to be acceptable to women in rural Uganda.

  • Source: Image created by the Authors; Copyright: The Authors; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Counseling With Guided Use of a Mobile Well-Being App for Students Experiencing Anxiety or Depression: Clinical Outcomes of a Feasibility Trial Embedded in a...


    Background: Anxiety and depression continue to be prominent experiences of students approaching their university counseling service. These services face unique challenges to ensure that they continue to offer quality support with fewer resources to a growing student population. The convenience and availability of mobile phone apps offer innovative solutions to address therapeutic challenges and expand the reach of traditional support. Objective: The primary aim of this study was to establish the feasibility of a trial in which guided use of a mobile phone well-being app was introduced into a student counseling service and offered as an adjunct to face-to-face counseling. Methods: The feasibility trial used a two-arm, parallel nonrandomized design comparing counseling alone (treatment as usual, or TAU) versus counseling supplemented with guided use of a mobile phone well-being app (intervention) for 38 university students experiencing moderate anxiety or depression. Students in both conditions received up to 6 sessions of face-to-face counseling within a 3-month period. Students who approached the counseling service and were accepted for counseling were invited to join the trial. Feasibility factors evaluated include recruitment duration, treatment preference, randomization acceptability, and intervention fidelity. Clinical outcomes and clinical change were assessed with routine clinical outcome measures administered every counseling session and follow-up phases at 3 and 6 months after recruitment. Results: Both groups demonstrated reduced clinical severity by the end of counseling. This was particularly noticeable for depression, social anxiety, and hostility, whereby clients moved from elevated clinical to low clinical or from low clinical to nonclinical by the end of the intervention. By the 6-month follow-up, TAU clients’ (n=18) anxiety had increased whereas intervention clients’ (n=20) anxiety continued to decrease, and this group difference was significant (Generalized Anxiety Disorder–7: t22=3.46, P=.002). This group difference was not replicated for levels of depression: students in both groups continued to decrease their levels of depression by a similar amount at the 6-month follow-up (Physical Health Questionnaire–9: t22=1.30, P=.21). Conclusion: Supplementing face-to-face counseling with guided use of a well-being app is a feasible and acceptable treatment option for university students experiencing moderate anxiety or depression. The feasibility trial was successfully embedded into a university counseling service without denying access to treatment and with minimal disruption to the service. This study provides preliminary evidence for using a well-being app to maintain clinical improvements for anxiety following the completion of counseling. The design of the feasibility trial provides the groundwork for the development of future pilot trials and definitive trials embedded in a student counseling service. Trial registration: ISRCTN registry ISRCTN55102899;

  • Source: freepik; Copyright: freepik; URL:; License: Licensed by JMIR.

    Association Between User Engagement of a Mobile Health App for Gout and Improvements in Self-Care Behaviors: Randomized Controlled Trial


    Background: Mobile health (mHealth) apps represent a promising approach for improving health outcomes in patients with chronic illness, but surprisingly few mHealth interventions have investigated the association between user engagement and health outcomes. We aimed to examine the efficacy of a recommended, commercially available gout self-management app for improving self-care behaviors and to assess self-reported user engagement of the app in a sample of adults with gout. Objective: Our objective was to examine differences in self-reported user engagement between a recommended gout app (treatment group) and a dietary app (active control group) over 2 weeks as well as to examine any differences in self-care behaviors and illness perceptions. Methods: Seventy-two adults with gout were recruited from the community and three primary and secondary clinics. Participants were randomized to use either Gout Central (n=36), a self-management app, or the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension Diet Plan (n=36), an app based on a diet developed for hypertension, for 2 weeks. The user version of the Mobile Application Rating Scale (uMARS, scale: 1 to 5) was used after the 2 weeks to assess self-reported user engagement, which included an open-ended question. Participants also completed a self-report questionnaire on self-care behaviors (scale: 1-5 for medication adherence and diet and 0-7 for exercise) and illness perceptions (scale: 0-10) at baseline and after the 2-week trial. Independent samples t tests and analysis of covariance were used to examine differences between groups at baseline and postintervention. Results: Participants rated the gout app as more engaging (mean difference –0.58, 95% CI –0.96 to –0.21) and more informative (mean difference –0.34, 95% CI –0.67 to –0.01) than the dietary app at the 2-week follow-up. The gout app group also reported a higher awareness of the importance of gout (mean difference –0.64, 95% CI –1.27 to –0.003) and higher knowledge/understanding of gout (mean difference –0.70, 95% CI –1.30 to –0.09) than the diet app group at follow-up. There were no significant differences in self-care behaviors between the two groups postintervention. The gout app group also demonstrated stronger negative beliefs regarding the impact of gout (mean difference –2.43, 95% CI –3.68 to –1.18), stronger beliefs regarding the severity of symptoms (mean difference –1.97, 95% CI –3.12 to –0.82), and a stronger emotional response to gout (mean difference –2.38, 95% CI –3.85 to –0.90) at follow-up. Participant feedback highlighted the importance of tracking health-related information, customizing to the target group/individual, providing more interactive features, and simplifying information. Conclusions: Participants found the commercially available gout app more engaging. However, these findings did not translate into differences in self-care behaviors. The gout app group also demonstrated stronger negative illness perceptions at the follow-up. Overall, these findings suggest that the development of gout apps would benefit from a user-centered approach with a focus on daily, long-term self-care behaviors as well as modifying illness beliefs. Trial Registration: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12617001052325;

  • Source: freepik; Copyright: freepik; URL:; License: Licensed by JMIR.

    Suicide Prevention Mobile Apps: Descriptive Analysis of Apps from the Most Popular Virtual Stores


    Background: Provision of follow-up and care during treatment of people with suicidal intentions is a challenge for health professionals and experts in information and communications technology (ICT). Therefore, health professionals and ICT experts are making efforts to carry out these activities in collaboration by using mobile apps as a technological resource. Methods: We considered 20 apps previously listed in the article “Mobile Apps for Suicide Prevention: Review of Virtual Stores and Literature” (de la Torre et al, JMIR mHealth uHealth 2017;5[10]:e130). To find the apps in this list, the most popular app stores (Android and iOS) were searched using the keyword “suicide prevention.” The research focused on publicly available app information: language, platform, and user ratings. The results obtained were statistically evaluated using 16 parameters that establish various factors that may affect the choice of the user, and the consequent support that the app can offer to a person at risk for suicide. Results: Of the 20 mobile apps, 4 no longer appeared in the app stores and were therefore excluded. Analysis of the remaining 16 apps sampled showed the following: (1) a high percentage of the apps analyzed in the study (n=13, 82%) are provided in English language; (2) the sampled apps were last updated in 2017, when only 45% of them were updated, but the constant and progressive update of treatments should be reflected in the apps; and (3) the technical quality of these apps cannot be determined on the basis of the distribution of scores, because their popularity indices can be subjective (according to the users). User preference for a particular operating system would require further, more specific research, including study of the differences in the technical and usability aspects between both platforms and the design of medical apps. Conclusions: Although there are positive approaches to the use of apps for suicide prevention and follow-up, the technical and human aspects are yet to be explored and defined. For example, the design and development of apps that support suicide prevention should be strongly supported by health personnel to humanize these apps, so that the effectiveness of the treatments supported by them can be improved.

  • Source: Pixabay; Copyright: nastya_gepp; URL:; License: Licensed by JMIR.

    An App to Improve Eating Habits of Adolescents and Young Adults (Challenge to Go): Systematic Development of a Theory-Based and Target Group–Adapted Mobile...


    Background: Due to the widespread use of mobile phones, dietary mobile apps are promising tools for preventing diet-related noncommunicable diseases early in life. However, most of the currently available nutrition apps lack scientific evaluation and user acceptance. Objective: The objective of this study was the systematic design of a theory-driven and target group–adapted dietary mobile app concept to promote healthy eating habits with a focus on drinking habits as well as consumption of fruits and vegetables in adolescents and young adults, especially from disadvantaged backgrounds. Methods: The design process was guided by the behavior change wheel (BCW). The development process comprised 3 stages. In stage 1, the target behavior was specified, and facilitators and barriers were identified. Furthermore, important insights into target group interests, needs, and values in the field of nutrition and apps were revealed. To this end, 2 empirical studies were conducted with the target group. In stage 2, results of stage 1 were translated into behavior change techniques (BCTs) and, finally, into app functionalities and features. Consequently, in stage 3, the concept was evaluated and optimized through expert interviews. Results: Facilitators and barriers for achieving the target behavior were psychological capabilities (eg, self-efficacy), reflective motivation (eg, fitness), automatic motivation, social support, and physical opportunity (eg, time). Target group interests, needs, and values in the field of nutrition were translated into target group preferences for app usage, for example, low usage effort, visual feedback, or recipes. Education, training, incentives, persuasion, and enablement were identified as relevant intervention functions. Together with the target group preferences, these were translated via 14 BCTs, such as rewards, graded tasks, or self-monitoring into the app concept Challenge to go (C2go). The expert evaluation suggested changes of some app features for improving adherence, positive health effects, and technical feasibility. The C2go concept comprises 3 worlds: the (1) drinking, (2) vegetable, and (3) fruit worlds. In each world, the users are faced with challenges including feedback and a quiz. Tips were developed based on the health action process approach and to help users gain challenges and, thereby, achieve the target behavior. Challenges can be played alone or against someone in the community. Due to different activities, points can be collected, and levels can be achieved. Collected points open access to an Infothek (information section), where users can choose content that interests them. An avatar guides user through the app. Conclusions: C2go is aimed at adolescents and young adults and aims to improve their fruit and vegetable consumption as well as drinking habits. It is a theory-driven and target group–adapted dietary mobile intervention concept that uses gamification and was systematically developed using the BCW.

  • Source: Flickr; Copyright: Create Health; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Is Wearable Technology Becoming Part of Us? Developing and Validating a Measurement Scale for Wearable Technology Embodiment


    Background: To experience external objects in such a way that they are perceived as an integral part of one’s own body is called embodiment. Wearable technology is a category of objects, which, due to its intrinsic properties (eg, close to the body, inviting frequent interaction, and access to personal information), is likely to be embodied. This phenomenon, which is referred to in this paper as wearable technology embodiment, has led to extensive conceptual considerations in various research fields. These considerations and further possibilities with regard to quantifying wearable technology embodiment are of particular value to the mobile health (mHealth) field. For example, the ability to predict the effectiveness of mHealth interventions and knowing the extent to which people embody the technology might be crucial for improving mHealth adherence. To facilitate examining wearable technology embodiment, we developed a measurement scale for this construct. Objective: This study aimed to conceptualize wearable technology embodiment, create an instrument to measure it, and test the predictive validity of the scale using well-known constructs related to technology adoption. The introduced instrument has 3 dimensions and includes 9 measurement items. The items are distributed evenly between the 3 dimensions, which include body extension, cognitive extension, and self-extension. Methods: Data were collected through a vignette-based survey (n=182). Each respondent was given 3 different vignettes, describing a hypothetical situation using a different type of wearable technology (a smart phone, a smart wristband, or a smart watch) with the purpose of tracking daily activities. Scale dimensions and item reliability were tested for their validity and Goodness of Fit Index (GFI). Results: Convergent validity of the 3 dimensions and their reliability were established as confirmatory factor analysis factor loadings (>0.70), average variance extracted values (>0.50), and minimum item to total correlations (>0.40) exceeded established threshold values. The reliability of the dimensions was also confirmed as Cronbach alpha and composite reliability exceeded 0.70. GFI testing confirmed that the 3 dimensions function as intercorrelated first-order factors. Predictive validity testing showed that these dimensions significantly add to multiple constructs associated with predicting the adoption of new technologies (ie, trust, perceived usefulness, involvement, attitude, and continuous intention). Conclusions: The wearable technology embodiment measurement instrument has shown promise as a tool to measure the extension of an individual’s body, cognition, and self, as well as predict certain aspects of technology adoption. This 3-dimensional instrument can be applied to mixed method research and used by wearable technology developers to improve future versions through such things as fit, improved accuracy of biofeedback data, and customizable features or fashion to connect to the users’ personal identity. Further research is recommended to apply this measurement instrument to multiple scenarios and technologies, and more diverse user groups.

  • Source: The Authors / Placeit; Copyright: The Authors; URL:; License: Licensed by JMIR.

    An App-Based Intervention for Caregivers to Prevent Unintentional Injury Among Preschoolers: Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial


    Background: App-based interventions have the potential to reduce child injury in countries with limited prevention resources, but their effectiveness has not been rigorously examined. Objective: This study aimed to assess the effectiveness of an app-based intervention for caregivers of preschoolers to prevent unintentional injury among Chinese preschoolers. Methods: A 6-month cluster randomized controlled trial was conducted from December 2017 to June 2018. Recruitment was conducted through preschools, which were randomly allocated to either the control group (ie, app-based parenting education excluding unintentional injury prevention) or the intervention group (ie, app-based parenting education including unintentional injury prevention). A total of 2920 caregivers of preschoolers aged 3-6 years from 20 preschools in Changsha, China, were recruited offline through the schools. The primary outcome was unintentional injury incidences among preschoolers in the past 3 months; this measure was assessed through an online caregiver-report at the baseline visit and at 3-month and 6-month follow-up visits. Secondary outcome measures included caregivers’ self-reported attitudes and behaviors concerning child supervision during the last week. Generalized estimating equations (GEEs) were used to assess the effectiveness of the app-based intervention on responses at 3 and 6 months after adjusting for sociodemographic variables, baseline level of the outcome variable, and engagement with interventions in the assigned group. All analyses were intention-to-treat. A per-protocol sensitivity analysis was also conducted. Results: In total, 1980 of the 2920 caregivers completed the study. The mean age of participants was 32.0 years (SD 5.5) and 68.99% (1366/1980) of them were female. During the 6-month follow-up visit, unintentional injury incidence did not change significantly in either group: incidence in the intervention group went from 8.76% (94/1073) to 8.11% (87/1073), P=.59; incidence in the control group went from 9.4% (85/907) to 7.5% (69/907), P=.15. The changes did not differ between the groups (odds ratio [OR] 1.14, 95% CI 0.80-1.62). Changes in the average score in attitude concerning unintentional injury prevention were also similar between the groups (B .05, 95% CI -0.03 to 0.13). Changes in unintentional injury prevention behaviors were greater in the intervention group than in the control group after the intervention (B .87, 95% CI 0.33-1.42). Analyses of individual injury prevention behaviors showed that the intervention reduced three risky behaviors: unsafe feeding of children (OR 0.73, 95% CI 0.60-0.89); incorrectly placing children in cars (OR 0.73, 95% CI 0.57-0.93); and allowing children to ride bicycles, electric bicycles, or motorcycles unsupervised (OR 0.80, 95% CI 0.64-0.99). The intervention also improved scores on three safety-focused behaviors: testing water temperature before giving children a bath (OR 1.26, 95% CI 1.05-1.52); properly storing sharp objects (OR 1.24, 95% CI 1.01-1.52); and safely storing medicines, detergents, and pesticides (OR 1.24, 95% CI 1.02-1.51). Conclusions: The app-based intervention did not reduce unintentional injury incidence among preschoolers but significantly improved caregivers’ safety behaviors. This app-based intervention approach to improve caregiver behaviors surrounding child injury risk offers promise to be modified and ultimately disseminated broadly. Trial Registration: Chinese Clinical Trial Registry ChiCTR-IOR-17010438; (Archived by WebCite at International Registered Report Identifier (IRRID): RR2-10.1186/s12889-018-5790-1

  • Using mobile health service to make an appointment with doctors. Source: Freepik; Copyright: Freepik; URL:; License: Licensed by JMIR.

    How Resource Scarcity and Accessibility Affect Patients’ Usage of Mobile Health in China: Resource Competition Perspective


    Background: The last decade has witnessed many achievements in China’s health care industry, but the industry still faces major challenges among which the uneven distribution of medical resources and the imbalance between supply and demand are the most pressing problems. Although mobile health (mHealth) services play a significant role in mitigating problems associated with health care delivery, their adoption rates have been low. Objective: The objective of this study was to explore the impact of resource scarcity and resource accessibility on the adoption of mHealth from the perspective of resource competition, to examine the concerning factors, and to provide a theoretical basis for promoting mHealth in China. Methods: We used 229,516 original registration records of outpatients to conduct an empirical analysis to examine the adoption of mHealth services from the perspective of resource competition. Results: The adoption rate of mobile services for outpatients was low, accounting for only 31.5% (N=71,707). The empirical results indicated that resource scarcity (beta=.435, P=.01) and accessibility (beta=−.134, P=.02) have a significant impact on the adoption of mHealth. In addition, gender (beta=.073, P=.01) and age (beta=−.009, P<.001) are significantly related to adoption of mHealth. Experience with mHealth has a moderating role in the relationship between resource scarcity (beta=−.129, P=.02), accessibility (beta=.138, P=.04), and adoption of mHealth. Conclusions: In this study we demonstrate that the external environment (resource scarcity and resource accessibility) has a significant impact on the adoption of mHealth. This study also demonstrates that experience with mHealth has a moderating role in the relationship between the elements of the external environment. Finally, we confirm that mHealth is a key factor in the delivery and allocation of medical resources and provide a theoretical basis for government agencies to develop policies on mHealth.

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  • Development of A Mobile App “InCharge Health” to Improve Adherence to Hydroxyurea in Sickle Cell Disease: A User-centered Design Approach

    Date Submitted: Aug 9, 2019

    Open Peer Review Period: Aug 12, 2019 - Oct 7, 2019

    Background: Sickle cell disease (SCD) is an inherited blood disorder causing acute complications and chronic progressive end organ damage. SCD is associated with significant morbidity, early mortality...

    Background: Sickle cell disease (SCD) is an inherited blood disorder causing acute complications and chronic progressive end organ damage. SCD is associated with significant morbidity, early mortality and impaired health-related quality of life as well as increased acute healthcare utilization. Hydroxyurea is an FDA-approved medication that reduces disease complications, acute health-care utilization, and costs. However, adherence to hydroxyurea is suboptimal. mHealth interventions have the potential to assist with overcoming barriers to hydroxyurea adherence among patients with SCD but few examples exist that are specific to this population. Objective: To design a mobile application (app) intervention for individuals with SCD to improve adherence to hydroxyurea, using a user-centered design that was informed by specific barriers to hydroxyurea adherence and utilization in this population. Methods: The current study consisted of 4 phases. In Phase 1, individuals with SCD and health care providers participated in an Optimization Digital Workshop. In Phase 2, patients completed surveys pertaining to their interest in mHealth use, barriers and facilitators to hydroxyurea use, and health literacy. Phases 3 and 4 involved semi-structured interviews and focus groups, respectively – which used the Health Belief Model as the framework to investigate drivers of poor hydroxyurea adherence and to inform the development of an app prototype. In addition, in Phase 4, patients provided feedback on the preliminary app prototype and its features, which was in turn used to finalize the app prototype. Results: Barriers to hydroxyurea adherence were consistent with the literature and included forgetfulness and several specific thoughts and emotions associated with hydroxyurea use (e.g., fear of side effects, depression, stigma, hopelessness). In addition, more than half of participants reported potentially low health literacy. Preferred patient app features included seven key components (1) medication reminders/tracker, (2) disease education, (3) communication, (4) personalization, (5) motivation, (6) support during pain episodes, and (7) social support. Utilizing a user-centered design approach, data obtained from patients and providers were translated into features within the app, mapping to components of the Health Belief Model and the specific drivers of hydroxyurea adherence and matched the literacy level of the population and resulted in the development of a novel mobile app called InCharge Health. Conclusions: The InCharge Health app, is a mHealth intervention developed with substantial input from users and mapping the Health Belief Model as the framework that guided the choice for its components. InCharge Health is a customized product for the SCD population aimed at optimizing medication adherence, with the end goal of improving quality of life and health outcomes among patients with SCD. The efficacy and implementation of the InCharge Health app as an mHealth intervention to promote hydroxyurea adherence will be tested in a future stepped-wedge multicenter trial for adolescents and adults with SCD. Clinical Trial: NCT03344900

  • Facilitating Management of Opioid Use Disorder: A Technology Landscape Analysis

    Date Submitted: Aug 2, 2019

    Open Peer Review Period: Aug 6, 2019 - Oct 1, 2019

    Background: Advances in technology engender investigation of technology solutions to Opioid Use Disorder (OUD). However, in comparison to chronic disease management, the application of mobile health (...

    Background: Advances in technology engender investigation of technology solutions to Opioid Use Disorder (OUD). However, in comparison to chronic disease management, the application of mobile health (mHealth) to OUD has been limited. Objective: The objectives of this paper are to (1) document the currently available opioid-related mHealth applications (apps) and (2) review past and existing technology solutions that address OUD. Methods: We used a two-phase parallel search approach: (1) app search to determine availability of opioid-related mHealth apps, and (2) focused review of literature to identify relevant technologies and mHealth apps used to address OUD. Results: The app search revealed a steady rise in app development, with the majority of apps being clinician-facing. A majority of the apps were designed to aid in opioid dose conversion. Despite the availability of these apps, the focused review found no study that investigated the efficacy of mHealth apps to address OUD. Conclusions: Our findings highlight a general gap in technological solutions of OUD management, and the potential for mHealth apps and wearable sensors to address OUD.

  • A theory-based content analysis on mhealth applications for obesity

    Date Submitted: Aug 1, 2019

    Open Peer Review Period: Aug 6, 2019 - Oct 1, 2019

    Background: With the availability of handy mobile devices and high-speed internet, much information in the field of health, wellness and fitness is now more accessible to the public. People of almost...

    Background: With the availability of handy mobile devices and high-speed internet, much information in the field of health, wellness and fitness is now more accessible to the public. People of almost all age groups use mhealth apps (Mobile health applications) to know about common diseases and their symptoms, medicine uses and side effects, diet plans and calculates BMI to keep them fit, etc. Obesity is considered as a growing threat to our society, especially for kids. Mobile apps related to obesity are available in large numbers. The potentials of such obesity-related mobile apps have to be investigated for better understanding of these apps, for using them in an effective way and for their influencing behavioural change on the users. There are prevalent studies on health & fitness apps in general but studies rarely focused on a particular health issue related apps. Objective: Thus the aim of the study is to explore the potentials of obesity-related apps. Methods: The content analysis method was adopted to analyze the contents of the top 35 obesity-related mhealth apps. A framework based on Precede-Proceed Model (PPM) was used to explore the chosen apps. The three factors of PPM model are a pre-disposing factor, enabling factor and reinforcing factor. Results: The analysis resulted that 26% of the apps satisfied all the variables of pre-disposing factor, only 3% of the apps satisfied all the variables of enabling factor and 6% of the apps satisfied all the variables of reinforcing factor. Conclusions: Entirely only 9% of the apps taken for the study satisfied the maximum variables of PPM to influence the health behavioural change of the app users. The researchers strongly recommend health professionals to involve in the development of obesity-related mhealth apps rather than some third-party developers. Lastly, a few suggestions regarding how users can adapt an obesity-related mhealth app were provided.

  • Telemedicine questionnaire for health care professionals: adaptation and validation using the Technology Acceptance Model

    Date Submitted: Aug 1, 2019

    Open Peer Review Period: Aug 6, 2019 - Oct 1, 2019

    Background: Telemedicine is both effective and can provide efficient care at lower costs. It also enjoys a high acceptance rate among users. The technology acceptance model proposed is based on the tw...

    Background: Telemedicine is both effective and can provide efficient care at lower costs. It also enjoys a high acceptance rate among users. The technology acceptance model proposed is based on the two main concepts of ease of use and perceived usefulness and comprises three dimensions: the individual context, the technological context, and the implementation or organizational context. There is not a short validated questionnaire to check the acceptance of telemedicine services amongst health care professionals using a technology acceptance model. Objective: To translate and validate a telemedicine acceptance questionnaire based in the technology acceptance model. Methods: The study included the following phases: adaptation and translation of the questionnaire into Catalan, and psychometric validation which include construct (exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis), consistency (Cronbach’s alpha) and stability (test-retest). Factor analysis was used to describe variability amongst observed variables. The Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin test of sampling was adequate (KMO = 0.818) and the Bartlett test of sphericity was significant (Chi-square 424.188; gl=28; P < .001), indicating that the items were appropriate for a factor analysis. The final confirmatory factor analysis conducted showed good fit index (RMSEA = 0.102, CFI = 0.93, TLI =0.90; CD =0.96). Results: After removing incomplete responses 144 responses where considered for analysis. The internal consistency measured with the Cronbach’s alpha coefficient was good with an alpha coefficient of 0.84 (95%, CI: 0.79-0.84). The intraclass correlation coefficient was 0.93 (95% CI: 0.852-0.964). Conclusions: The questionnaire validated with this study has robust statistical features that potentially make it a good predictive model of professional’s satisfaction with telemedicine programs. Clinical Trial: n/a

  • Feasibility of applying a mixed quantitative and qualitative approach to the design of a smartphone application for people with chronic low back pain

    Date Submitted: Jul 27, 2019

    Open Peer Review Period: Jul 30, 2019 - Sep 24, 2019

    Background: Non-specific low back pain (NSLBP) is a major global public health issue leading to considerable economic cost. It is primarily responsible for pain, disability and sickness absence. Patie...

    Background: Non-specific low back pain (NSLBP) is a major global public health issue leading to considerable economic cost. It is primarily responsible for pain, disability and sickness absence. Patients should be proactive to manage their pain and disability according to LBP guidelines. Mobile device technology has the potential to involve people with chronic NSLBP in their rehabilitation by modifying their behaviour, improving their adherence to treatment and giving them access to information. Objective: To assess the feasibility of applying a mixed quantitative and qualitative approach to the design of a smartphone application (app) for people with chronic NSLBP. Methods: We used a user-centered design approach involving people with chronic NSLBP and healthcare professionals (HCPs). We used a three-step methodology: step I, developing consensus on the features, content, and design of the app; step II, developing a user interface; and step III, usability testing of the app and assessing users’ experience. Transcripts of interviews of users were analyzed by qualitative content analysis. Results: A total of 18 people (median age 45 years, range 23–53) with chronic NSLBP, and 7 HCPs (median age 29.5 years, range 25–55) involved in NSLBP management were interviewed. The global experience of using the smartphone eLombactif app was initially assessed. Then, with close-ended questions we evaluated users' judgement on the content, its presentation and navigation. Most items received positive feedback from study participants. Finally, we asked for suggestions grouped into 2 categories: "application content and functionality" and "content presentation" from participants regarding the use and development of the app analyzed by a qualitative methodology to improve the app in the future. Conclusions: This study confirms the feasibility of using a mixed quantitative and qualitative approach to design a self-management tool for people with chronic NSLBP. This methodology allows for deepening the knowledge of the needs and expectations of potential users by measuring user experience. The results of this study can serve as a reference for future adjustments and improvements to this app.

  • Mobile Health in Supporting the Elderly Caregivers: A Non-Randomized Controlled Pilot Study

    Date Submitted: Jul 25, 2019

    Open Peer Review Period: Jul 29, 2019 - Sep 23, 2019

    Background: As the population of Taiwan continues to age rapidly, middle-aged and elderly people will increasingly begin to care for their older relatives. Therefore, the responsibility and complexity...

    Background: As the population of Taiwan continues to age rapidly, middle-aged and elderly people will increasingly begin to care for their older relatives. Therefore, the responsibility and complexity of care required from family caregivers will increase. The mobile health technology (mHealth) model has been successfully applied to numerous care services. Objective: To develop a mobile health app that supports family caregivers of various ages by meeting their home care needs, thus improving their quality of life, decreasing their severity of depression, and making them more empowered. Methods: This study applied a nonrandomized control-group pretest–posttest design. Purposive sampling was employed to recruit 30 family caregivers—16 middle-aged and 14 old family caregivers—from the home care cases of a regional hospital in Taipei. The developed home care mHealth app was used for management and monitoring of patient health. The outcomes measured were quality of life, level of depression, and sense of empowerment. Results: The results indicated that use of the mHealth app improved the technology acceptance, quality of life, depression level, and empowerment of the family caregivers. The old caregivers obtained quality of life scores that were 2.23 points higher, on average, than those obtained by the middle-aged caregivers P = .01, a significant difference. On the quality of life questionnaire, the old caregivers’ obtained scores for the health and family factors that were 2.75 P = .01 and 2.49 P = .01 points higher, respectively, than those obtained by the middle-aged caregivers, indicating significant differences. Regarding empowerment and depression, the scores obtained at different time points indicated that both groups became more empowered and less depressed over time, but no significant differences were discovered between the two groups. Conclusions: According to our results, using the home care mHealth app had a positive influence the app is concluded to be a favorable tool for care education and management. Old caregivers found the software useful for managing patients’ physiological data, and they wished that other assistive methods were available to help them understand the internal functions. The software contributes to quality of life improvement, a decrease in depression severity, and empowerment enhancement and can be used by family caregivers as a reference for home care management in the future.