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Journal Description

JMIR Formative Research (JFR) (a PubMed-indexed sister journal of J Med Internet Res (JMIR) and JMIR mHealth & uHealth, the leading eHealth and mHealth journals by impact factor) publishes peer-reviewed, openly accessible papers containing results from process evaluations, feasibility/pilot studies and other kinds of formative research and preliminary results. While the original focus was on the design of medical and health-related research and technology innovations, JFR publishes studies from all areas of medical and health research.

Formative research is research that occurs before a program is designed and implemented, or while a program is being conducted. Formative research can help

  • define and understand populations in need of a intervention or public health program
  • create programs that are specific to the needs of those populations
  • ensure programs are acceptable and feasible to users before launching
  • improve the relationship between users and agencies/research groups
  • demonstrate the feasibility, use, satisfaction with, or problems with a program before large-scale summative evaluation (looking at health outcomes)

Many funding agencies will expect some sort of pilot/feasibility/process evaluation before funding a larger study such as a Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT).

Formative research should be an integral part of developing programs or adapting programs, and should be used while the program is on-going to help refine and improve program activities. Thus, formative evaluation can and should also occur in form of a process evaluation alongside a summative evaluation such as a RCT.

This journal fills an important gap in the academic journals landscape, as it publishes sound and peer-reviewed formative research that is criticial for investigators to apply for further funding, but that is usually not published in outcomes-focussed medical journals aiming for impact and generalizability.

Summative evaluations of programs and apps/software that have undergone a thorough formative evaluation before launch have a better chance to be published in our high-impact flagship journals (JMIR mHealth, J Med Internet Res, JMIR Serious Games), thus we encourage authors to submit - as a first step - their formative evaluations in JMIR Formative Res (and their evaluation protocols in JMIR Res Protoc). 

JMIR Formative Res has been accepted for indexing in PubMed and PubMed Central.

 

Recent Articles:

  • VR equipment. Source: The Authors; Copyright: Kristin Thaulow; URL: https://formative.jmir.org/2019/2/e13633; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Exploring the Potential for Use of Virtual Reality Technology in the Treatment of Severe Mental Illness Among Adults in Mid-Norway: Collaborative Research...

    Abstract:

    Background: Virtual reality (VR) technology is not currently used in the treatment of severe mental health illness in Norway. Objective: We aimed to explore the potential of VR as a treatment for severe mental health illness in Norway, through collaborative research between clinicians and researchers. Methods: A collaborative research team was established, comprising researchers, the manager at a district psychiatric center, and the manager of the local municipal mental health service. An all-day workshop with eight clinicians—four from specialist mental health services and four from municipal mental health services—was conducted. The clinicians watched three different VR movies and after each one, they answered predefined questions designed to reflect their immediate thoughts about VR’s potential use in clinical practice. At the end of the workshop, two focus group interviews, each with four clinicians from each service level, were conducted. Results: VR technology in specialist services might be a new tool for the treatment of severe mental health illness. In municipal mental health services, VR might particularly be useful in systematic social training that would otherwise take a very long time to complete. Conclusions: We found substantial potential for the use of VR in the treatment of severe mental health illness in specialist and municipal mental health services. One of the uses of VR technology with the greatest potential was helping individuals who had isolated themselves and needed training in social skills and everyday activity to enable them to have more active social lives. VR could also be used to simulate severe mental illness to provide a better understanding of how the person with severe mental illness experiences their situation.

  • Source: Freepik; Copyright: jannoon028; URL: https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/loei-thailand-may-10-2017-hand-holding-samsung-s8-with-mobile-application-facebook-screen_1254944.htm; License: Licensed by JMIR.

    Predisposing and Motivational Factors Related to Social Network Sites Use: Systematic Review

    Abstract:

    Background: Social network sites (SNSs) have been defined as Web services that involve creating a private or semiprivate profile. Through these services, adolescents and adults can maintain and create new relationships. Adolescents, in particular, can be considered the main users of these sites as they spend a lot of time on SNSs. In using SNSs, individuals can exert greater control over the conversation and on the information shared, which is associated with a desire for self-presentation. Moreover, the need for self-presentation is related to personality traits such as those of the Big Five, namely extraversion, neuroticism, openness to experience, agreeableness, and conscientiousness, as well as emotional stability, introversion, narcissism, and motivational aspects. The latter are usually linked to an underlying social purpose that might predispose an individual to using SNSs, with the intent of satisfying particular needs, such as belongingness and interpersonal competency. Objective: Using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) method, this study aimed to present a systematic review of the scientific literature regarding the predisposing factors related to the Big Five personality traits and motivational aspects associated with the use of SNSs, for both adolescents (12-19 years) and adults (>20 years). Methods: A search ranging from 2007 to 2017 was conducted through the academic database of Google Scholar and PsycINFO, in which the following terms and their derivatives were considered: predisposing factors, personality traits, Big Five model, self-esteem, self-presentation, interpersonal competency, social network site, Facebook, motivation, five-factor model, use, abuse, and addiction. Based on a defined list of inclusion and exclusion criteria, a total of 9 papers were finally included in the review. Results: Our findings identified 3 main personality traits to be of greater value: extraversion, neuroticism, and openness to experience. Extraversion was a good predictor of motivation and SNS use, whereas the latter trait showed relevance for age differences. All 3 features further played a role in gender differences. Apart from extraversion, the self-presentational motive was also related to narcissism, whereas the need to belong presented an association with agreeableness and neuroticism. Further underlining the social value behind SNS use, people perceived interpersonal competency as being related to Facebook use intensity. Conclusions: Extraversion was recognized as the main forerunner for SNS use and motivation for use. Neuroticism seems to be related to an attempt at compensating for difficulties in real-life social contexts. Openness to experiences has a strong valence for both adults and older adults since SNSs are still perceived as a novelty. Moreover, gender differences in SNS usage were observed to be the product of differences in motivation. Implications and limitations of the study were discussed.

  • Fertility Consult (montage). Source: The Authors / Placeit; Copyright: JMIR Publications; URL: https://formative.jmir.org/2019/2/e13916; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Independent and Web-Based Advice for Infertile Patients Using Fertility Consult: Pilot Study

    Abstract:

    Background: Patient-centered care—that is, care tailored to personal wishes and needs of patients—has become increasingly important. It is especially relevant in health care areas where patients suffer from a high burden of disease, such as fertility care. At present, both diagnosis and treatment for infertile couples is provided at a single hospital. As a consequence, patients are not likely to receive optimal, independent advice regarding their fertility problems. Internet-based, independent advice could be feasible for large groups of patients because it is not limited by travel distance and overhead costs. Objective: The aim of this study was to explore the experiences of both patients and professionals with an online platform using video consultations for patients with infertility seeking independent advice for their fertility problem. Methods: This pilot study evaluated an online platform, Fertility Consult, where patients with infertility can get independent advice by a gynecologist through a video consultation, thus eliminating the need of meeting the doctor physically. Semistructured interviews were performed with 2 gynecologists and the chairman of the Dutch patients association. This information was used for a patients’ questionnaire about their first experiences with Fertility Consult, including questions about the level of patient-centeredness and shared decision making, using the Patient-Centered Questionnaire-Infertility (PCQ-Infertility) and the CollaboRATE questionnaire, respectively. Results: Of the first 27 patients enrolled at Fertility Consult, 22 responded (82%). Most patients (82%) visited Fertility Consult for a second opinion, seeking more personal attention and independent advice. The mean level of patient-centeredness on the PCQ-Infertility questionnaire was 2.78 (SD 0.58) on a scale of 0 to 3. For the CollaboRATE questionnaire (scale 0-9), patients provided a median score of 8.0 (range 7-9) on all 3 questions about shared decision making. Conclusions: Patients were satisfied with independent, well-prepared, Web-based advice; health care professionals felt they were able to provide patients with proper advice in a manner befitting patients’ needs, without any loss of quality. Future studies should focus more on the separation of advice and treatment and on Web-based consultations compared with face-to-face consultations to ascertain the possibility of increased patient involvement in the process to improve the level of patient-centered care.

  • A Peer-Led Electronic Mental Health Recovery App in a Community-Based Public Mental Health Service: Pilot Trial

    Abstract:

    Background: There is an increasing need for peer workers (people with lived experience of mental health problems who support others) to work alongside consumers to improve recovery and outcomes. In addition, new forms of technology (tablet or mobile apps) can deliver services in an engaging and innovative way. However, there is a need to evaluate interventions in real-world settings. Objective: This exploratory proof-of-concept study aimed to determine if a peer worker–led electronic mental health (e-mental health) recovery program is a feasible, acceptable, and effective adjunct to usual care for people with moderate-to-severe mental illness. Methods: Overall, 6 consumers and 5 health service staff participated in the evaluation of a peer-led recovery app delivered at a community-based public mental health service. The peer worker and other health professional staff invited attendees at the drop-in medication clinics to participate in the trial during June to August 2017. Following the intervention period, participants were also invited by the peer worker to complete the evaluation in a separate room with the researcher. Consumers were explicitly informed that participation in the research evaluation was entirely voluntary. Consumer evaluation measures at postintervention included recovery and views on the acceptability of the program and its delivery. Interviews with staff focused on the acceptability and feasibility of the app itself and integrating a peer worker into the health care service. Results: Consumer recruitment in the research component of the study (n=6) fell substantially short of the target number of participants (n=30). However, from those who participated, both staff and consumers were highly satisfied with the peer worker and somewhat satisfied with the app. Health care staff overall believed that the addition of the peer worker was highly beneficial to both the consumers and staff. Conclusions: The preliminary findings from this proof-of-concept pilot study suggest that a peer-led program may be a feasible and acceptable method of working on recovery in this population. However, the e-mental health program did not appear feasible in this setting. In addition, recruitment was challenging in this particular group, and it is important to note that these study findings may not be generalizable. Despite this, ensuring familiarity of technology in the target population before implementing e-mental health interventions is likely to be of benefit.

  • Source: Pixabay; Copyright: rawpixel; URL: https://pixabay.com/photos/adult-african-american-3658091/; License: Licensed by JMIR.

    Utilization of an Animated Electronic Health Video to Increase Knowledge of Post- and Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis for HIV Among African American Women:...

    Abstract:

    Background: Despite renewed focus on biomedical prevention strategies since the publication of several clinical trials highlighting the efficacy of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), knowledge of postexposure prophylaxis (PEP) and PrEP continues to remain scarce among women, especially among African American women who are disproportionally affected by HIV. In an effort to address this barrier and encourage uptake of PEP and PrEP, an electronic health (eHealth) video was created using an entertainment-education format. Objective: The study aimed to explore the feasibility, acceptability, and preference of an avatar-led, eHealth video, PEP and PrEP for Women, to increase awareness and knowledge of PEP and PrEP for HIV in a sample of African American women. Methods: A cross-sectional, Web-based study was conducted with 116 African American women aged 18 to 61 years to measure participants’ perceived acceptability of the video on a 5-point scale: poor, fair, good, very good, and excellent. Backward stepwise regression was used to the find the outcome variable of a higher rating of the PEP and PrEP for Women video. Thematic analysis was conducted to explore the reasons for recommending the video to others after watching the eHealth video. Results: Overall, 89% of the participants rated the video as good or higher. A higher rating of the educational video was significantly predicted by: no current use of drugs/alcohol (beta=−.814; P=.004), not having unprotected sex in the last 3 months (beta=−.488; P=.03), higher income (beta=.149; P=.03), lower level of education (beta=−.267; P=.005), and lower exposure to sexual assault since the age of 18 years (beta=−.313; P=.004). After watching the eHealth video, reasons for recommending the video included the video being educational, entertaining, and suitable for women. Conclusions: Utilization of an avatar-led eHealth video fostered education about PEP and PrEP among African American women who have experienced insufficient outreach for biomedical HIV strategies. This approach can be leveraged to increase awareness and usage among African American women.

  • Source: picjumbo; Copyright: Viktor Hanacek; URL: https://picjumbo.com/social-networks/; License: Licensed by JMIR.

    A New Tool for Public Health Opinion to Give Insight Into Telemedicine: Twitter Poll Analysis

    Abstract:

    Background: Telemedicine draws on information technologies in order to enable the delivery of clinical health care from a distance. Twitter is a social networking platform that has 316 million monthly active users with 500 million tweets per day; its potential for real-time monitoring of public health has been well documented. There is a lack of empirical research that has critically examined the potential of Twitter polls for providing insight into public health. One of the benefits of utilizing Twitter polls is that it is possible to gain access to a large audience that can provide instant and real-time feedback. Moreover, Twitter polls are completely anonymized. Objective: The overall aim of this study was to develop and disseminate Twitter polls based on existing surveys to gain real-time feedback on public views and opinions toward telemedicine. Methods: Two Twitter polls were developed utilizing questions from previously used questionnaires to explore acceptance of telemedicine among Twitter users. The polls were placed on the Twitter timeline of one of the authors, which had more than 9300 followers, and the account followers were asked to answer the poll and retweet it to reach a larger audience. Results: In a population where telemedicine was expected to enjoy big support, a significant number of Twitter users responding to the poll felt that telemedicine was not as good as traditional care. Conclusions: Our results show the potential of Twitter polls for gaining insight into public health topics on a range of health issues not just limited to telemedicine. Our study also sheds light on how Twitter polls can be used to validate and test survey questions.

  • Source: Flickr; Copyright: Tom Britt; URL: https://www.flickr.com/photos/atgeist/24402719201/; License: Creative Commons Attribution + Noncommercial + NoDerivatives (CC-BY-NC-ND).

    Connecting Home-Based Self-Monitoring of Blood Pressure Data Into Electronic Health Records for Hypertension Care: A Qualitative Inquiry With Primary Care...

    Abstract:

    Background: There is a lack of research on how to best incorporate home-based self-measured blood pressure (SMBP) measurements, combined with other patient-generated health data (PGHD), into electronic health record (EHR) systems in a way that promotes primary care workflow without burdening the primary care team with irrelevant or superfluous data. Objective: The purpose of this study was to explore the perspectives of primary care providers in utilizing SMBP measurements and integrating SMBP data into the clinical workflow for the management of hypertension in the primary care setting. Methods: A total of 13 primary care physicians were interviewed in total; 5 in individual interviews and 8 in a focus group. The interview questions were centered on (1) the value of SMBP in hypertension care, (2) needs of viewing SMBP and desired visual display, (3) desired alert algorithm and critical values, (4) needs for other PGHD, and (5) workflow of primary care team in utilizing SMBP. The interviews were audiotaped and transcribed verbatim, and a thematic analysis was performed to extract overarching themes. Results: The primary care experience of the 13 providers ranged from 5 to 35 years. The following themes emerged from the individual and focus group interviews: (1) ways to utilize SMBP measurements in primary care, (2) preferred visual display of SMBP, (3) patient condition determines preferred scheduling of patient SMBP measurements and provider’s preferred frequency of viewing SMBP data, (4) effect of patient condition on alert parameters, (5) location to receive critical value alerts, (6) primary recipient of critical value alerts, and (7) the need of additional PGHD (eg, emotional stressors, food diary, and medication adherence) to provide context of SMBP values. Conclusions: The perspectives of primary care providers need to be incorporated into the design of a built-in interface in the EHR to incorporate SMBP and other PGHD. Future usability evaluation should be conducted with mock-up interfaces to solicit opinions on the optimal alert frequency and mechanism to best fit the workflow in the primary care setting. Future studies should examine how the utilization of a built-in interface that fully integrates SMBP measurements and PGHD into EHR systems can support patient self-management and thus, improve patient outcomes.

  • FACETS Workbook Image. Source: Image created by the Authors; Copyright: The Authors; URL: http://formative.jmir.org/2019/2/e10951/; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Digitizing a Face-to-Face Group Fatigue Management Program: Exploring the Views of People With Multiple Sclerosis and Health Care Professionals Via...

    Abstract:

    Background: Fatigue is one of the most common and debilitating symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS) and is the main reason why people with MS stop working early. The MS Society in the United Kingdom funded a randomized controlled trial of FACETS—a face-to-face group-based fatigue management program for people with multiple sclerosis (pwMS)—developed by members of the research team. Given the favorable trial results and to help with implementation, the MS Society supported the design and printing of the FACETS manual and materials and the national delivery of FACETS training courses (designed by the research team) for health care professionals (HCPs). By 2015 more than 1500 pwMS had received the FACETS program, but it is not available in all areas and a face-to-face format may not be suitable for, or appeal to, everyone. For these reasons, the MS Society funded a consultation to explore an alternative Web-based model of service delivery. Objective: The aim of this study was to gather views about a Web-based model of service delivery from HCPs who had delivered FACETS and from pwMS who had attended FACETS. Methods: Telephone consultations were undertaken with FACETS-trained HCPs who had experience of delivering FACETS (n=8). Three face-to-face consultation groups were held with pwMS who had attended the FACETS program: London (n=4), Liverpool (n=4), and Bristol (n=7). The interviews and consultation groups were digitally recorded and transcribed. A thematic analysis was undertaken to identify key themes. Toward the end of the study, a roundtable meeting was held to discuss outcomes from the consultation with representatives from the MS Society, HCPs, and pwMS. Results: Key challenges and opportunities of designing and delivering an integrated Web-based version of FACETS and maintaining user engagement were identified across 7 themes (delivery, online delivery, design, group, engagement, interactivity, and HCP relationships). Particularly of interest were themes related to replicating the group dynamics and the lack of high-quality solutions that would support the FACETS’ weekly homework tasks and symptom monitoring and management. Conclusions: A minimum viable Web-based version of FACETS was suggested as the best starting point for a phased implementation, enabling a solution that could then be added to over time. It was also proposed that a separate study should look to create a free stand-alone digital toolkit focusing on the homework elements of FACETS. This study has commenced with a first version of the toolkit in development involving pwMS throughout the design and build stages to ensure a user-centered solution.

  • Source: Pxhere; Copyright: rawpixel.com; URL: https://pxhere.com/en/photo/1574137; License: Public Domain (CC0).

    Treatment Preferences for Internet-Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia in Japan: Online Survey

    Abstract:

    Background: The internet has the potential to increase individuals’ access to cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for insomnia at low cost. However, treatment preferences regarding internet-based computerized CBT for insomnia have not been fully examined. Objective: The aim was to conduct an anonymous online survey to evaluate treatment preferences for insomnia among patients with insomnia and individuals without insomnia. Methods: We developed an online survey to recruit a total of 600 participants living in the Kanto district in Japan. There were three subgroups: 200 medicated individuals with insomnia, 200 unmedicated individuals with insomnia, and 200 individuals without insomnia. The survey asked questions about the severity of the respondent’s insomnia (using the Athens Insomnia Scale), the frequency of sleep medication use and the level of satisfaction with sleep medication use, the respondent’s knowledge of CBT, his or her preference for CBT for insomnia before drug therapy, preference for CBT versus drug therapy, and preference for internet-based CBT versus face-to-face CBT. Results: Of the 600 respondents, 47.7% (286/600) indicated that they received CBT before drug therapy, and 57.2% (343/600) preferred CBT for insomnia to drug therapy. In addition, 47.0% (282/600) preferred internet-based CBT for insomnia to face-to-face CBT. Although the respondents with insomnia who were taking an insomnia medication had a relatively lower preference for internet-based CBT (40.5%, 81/200), the respondents with insomnia who were not taking an insomnia medication had a relatively higher preference for internet-based CBT (55.5%, 111/200). Conclusions: The results of our online survey suggest that approximately half of the people queried preferred CBT for insomnia to drug therapy, and half of the respondents preferred internet-based CBT for insomnia to face-to-face CBT.

  • Source: Unsplash; Copyright: Matt Wildbore; URL: https://unsplash.com/photos/wF14k8SyGzA; License: Licensed by JMIR.

    Internet-Based Cognitive Therapy for Social Anxiety Disorder in Hong Kong: Therapist Training and Dissemination Case Series

    Abstract:

    Background: Guided internet-based psychological interventions show substantial promise for expanding access to evidence-based mental health care. However, this can only be achieved if results of tightly controlled studies from the treatment developers can also be achieved in other independent settings. This dissemination depends critically on developing efficient and effective ways to train professionals to deliver these interventions. Unfortunately, descriptions of therapist training and its evaluation are often limited or absent within dissemination studies. Objective: This study aimed to describe and evaluate a program of therapist training to deliver internet-based Cognitive Therapy for social anxiety disorder (iCT-SAD). As this treatment was developed in the United Kingdom and this study was conducted in Hong Kong with local therapists, an additional objective was to examine the feasibility, acceptability, and initial efficacy of iCT-SAD in this cultural context, based on data from a pilot case series. Methods: Training in iCT-SAD was provided to 3 therapists and included practice of the face-to-face format of therapy under clinical supervision, training workshops, and treating 6 patients with the iCT-SAD program. Training progress was evaluated using standardized and self-report measures and by reviewing patient outcomes. In addition, feedback from patients and therapists was sought regarding the feasibility and acceptability of the program. Results: The training program was effective at increasing therapists’ iCT-SAD knowledge and skills, resulting in levels of competence expected of a specialist Cognitive Behavioral Therapy practitioner. The 6 patients treated by the trainees all completed their treatment and achieved a mean pre- to posttreatment change of 53.8 points (SD 39.5) on the primary patient outcome measure, the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale. The within-group effect size (Cohen d) was 2.06 (95% CI 0.66-3.46). There was evidence to suggest that the patients’ clinical outcomes were sustained at 3-month follow-up. These clinical results are comparable to those achieved by UK patients treated by the developers of the internet program. Patient and therapist feedback did not identify any major cultural barriers to implementing iCT-SAD in Hong Kong; some modest language suggestions were made to assist understanding. Conclusions: The therapist training implemented here facilitated the successful dissemination of an effective UK-developed internet intervention to Hong Kong. The treatment appeared feasible and acceptable in this setting and showed highly promising initial efficacy. A randomized controlled trial is now required to examine this more robustly. As therapist training is critical to the successful dissemination of internet interventions, further research to develop, describe, and evaluate therapist training procedures is recommended.

  • Source: Flickr; Copyright: Marco Verch; URL: https://www.flickr.com/photos/30478819@N08/42778819260/; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Feasibility and Acceptability of Using a Mobile Phone App for Characterizing Auditory Verbal Hallucinations in Adolescents With Early-Onset Psychosis:...

    Abstract:

    Background: Auditory verbal hallucinations (AVH) are the most frequent symptom in early-onset psychosis (EOP) and a risk factor for increased suicide attempts in adolescents. Increased knowledge of AVH characteristics can lead to better prediction of risk and precision of diagnosis and help identify individuals with AVH who need care. As 98% of Norwegian adolescents aged 12 to 16 years own a mobile phone, the use of mobile phone apps in symptom assessment and patient communication is a promising new tool. However, when introducing new technology to patients, their subjective experiences are crucial in identifying risks, further development, and potential integration into clinical care. Objective: The objective was to explore the feasibility and acceptability of a newly developed mobile phone app in adolescents with EOP by examining compliance with the app and user experiences. Indication of validity was explored by examining associations between AVH dimensions, which were correlated and analyzed. Methods: Three adolescents with EOP and active AVH were enrolled. Real-time AVH were logged on an iPod touch using the experience sampling method (ESM), for seven or more consecutive days. The app included five dimensions of AVH characteristics and was programmed with five daily notifications. Feasibility and acceptability were examined using the mean response rate of data sampling and by interviewing the participants. Validity was assessed by examining associations between the AVH dimensions using nonparametric correlation analysis and by visual inspection of temporal fluctuations of the AVH dimensions. Results: One participant was excluded from the statistical analyses but completed the interview and was included in the examination of acceptability. The sampling period of the two participants was mean 12 (SD 6) days with overall completed sampling rate of 74% (SD 30%), indicating adequate to high compliance with the procedure. The user experiences from the interviews clustered into four categories: (1) increased awareness, (2) personal privacy, (3) design and procedure, and (4) usefulness and clinical care. One participant experienced more commenting voices during the sampling period, and all three participants had concerns regarding personal privacy when using electronic devices in symptom assessment. The AVH dimensions of content, control, and influence showed moderate to strong significant correlations with all dimensions (P<.001). Days of data sampling showed weak to moderate correlations with localization (P<.001) and influence (P=.03). Visual inspection indicated that the app was able to capture fluctuations within and across days for all AVH dimensions. Conclusions: This study demonstrates the value of including patients’ experiences in the development and pilot-testing of new technology. Based on the small sample size, the use of mobile phones with ESM seems feasible for patients with EOP, but the acceptability of using apps should be considered. Further investigation with larger samples is warranted before definitive conclusions are made.

  • Source: The Authors / Placeit; Copyright: JMIR Publications; URL: http://formative.jmir.org/2019/2/e13324/; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Young Adults’ Engagement With a Self-Monitoring App for Vegetable Intake and the Impact of Social Media and Gamification: Feasibility Study

    Abstract:

    Background: Social media and gamification have been used in digital interventions for improving nutrition behaviors of young adults, but few studies measure engagement. Objective: This feasibility study aimed to explore user engagement with a 4-week smartphone program for improving vegetable intake. Methods: A goal setting and self-monitoring app was developed for feasibility testing. We assessed if additional components of gaming and/or social media support increased engagement. A 2 × 2 factorial study design was used with participants randomly allocated to each group. Engagement with the app (usage) was captured via inbuilt software, which recorded total days of app usage (duration) and the frequency of logging vegetable intake. Uptake of the social media (Facebook) content was measured by tracking views, likes, and comments on posts. Results: Out of the 110 potential participants who completed the prescreening questionnaire online, 97 were eligible (mean age 24.8 [SD 3.4]). In total, 49% (47/97) of participants were retained at 4 weeks. Attrition within the first week was the highest among users of the gamified app without social support (Facebook; P<.001). Over the intervention period, 64% (62/97) of participants logged into their app, with vegetable intake recorded on average for 11 out of 28 days. The frequency of recording decreased each week (mean 4 [SD 2] days in week 1 versus mean 2 [SD 2] days in week 4). No effects of gaming or social support on the frequency of recording vegetables or the duration of app engagement were found. However, regardless of the app type, the duration of app engagement was significantly associated with vegetable intake post intervention (P<.001). In total, 60% of Facebook posts were viewed by participants but engagement was limited to likes, with no comments or peer-to-peer interaction observed. Conclusions: As duration of usage was associated with vegetable intake, a deeper understanding of factors influencing engagement is needed. Dimensions such as personal attributes and the setting and context require further exploration in addition to content and delivery.

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    Date Submitted: Jun 20, 2019

    Open Peer Review Period: Jun 24, 2019 - Aug 19, 2019

    Background: Laboratory automation is the actual frontier for the increase of productivity and reduction of samples turnaround time (TAT), in turn used as a key indicator of laboratory performance. How...

    Background: Laboratory automation is the actual frontier for the increase of productivity and reduction of samples turnaround time (TAT), in turn used as a key indicator of laboratory performance. However, due to the statistical distribution of TAT values, classical parameters (mean, standard deviation, percentiles) fail to describe each single sample processing “story”. The driving idea of the present work is to assimilate the samples flow in an automation laboratory to the movement of molecules in solution by means of Dynamic Light Scattering Correlation Function analysis expansion. Objective: The aim of the approach is the increase of productivity and the reduction of laboratory process cycle times thus improving data quality level. The most widely known application of laboratory automation technology is robotics, based on many different automated laboratory instruments, devices (the most common being autosamplers), software algorithms and methodologies assembled together to form an unique production chain starting from the arrival of the biological sample in the lab to the output of clinical useful final results. Methods: TAT values from 10000 samples were used to build a correlation function. Through a time course, each sample perfectly correlates with its initial status (no results available) until its specific TAT value is reached and assumes a value of 1; after the TAT is reached (produced results) it no more correlates and its status value becomes 0. The generated correlation function is simply the normalized progressive timing sum of all analyzed samples status conditions at each specific time. Results: By correlation function analysis, several parameters to describe the general performance of the system as well as each individual sample status are derived and applied to monitor the efficiency of the automation chain in real time mode. Conclusions: Our original approach to laboratory automation leads to the possibility of determining measurable criteria able to describe the entire system capacity to buffer and reduce problems both on the full performance or on spot samples, consequently developing a new tool to evaluate different or improved performing systems Clinical Trial: none

  • “This book has really normalised that our role is working with a whole person, their emotional health and their physical health”: Formative evaluation of the Diabetes and Emotional Health handbook and toolkit for health professionals

    Date Submitted: Jun 13, 2019

    Open Peer Review Period: Jun 17, 2019 - Aug 12, 2019

    Background: Health professionals have expressed unmet needs, including lacking skills, confidence, training, and resources to properly attend to the psychological needs of people with diabetes. Object...

    Background: Health professionals have expressed unmet needs, including lacking skills, confidence, training, and resources to properly attend to the psychological needs of people with diabetes. Objective: Informed by needs assessments, we aimed to develop practical, evidence-based resources to support health professionals to address the emotional needs of adults with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Methods: We developed a new handbook and toolkit informed by formative evaluation, including literature reviews, stakeholder consultation and review, and a qualitative study. In the qualitative study, health professionals participated in interviews after reading sections of the handbook and toolkit. Results: The literature review uncovered that psychological problems are common among adults with diabetes, but health professionals lack resources to provide related support. We planned and drafted resources to fill this unmet need, guided by stakeholder consultation and an Expert Reference Group. Prior to finalising the resources, we implemented feedback received from stakeholders (Expert Reference Group, health professionals, academics, and people with diabetes). The resulting products were the practical, evidence-based Diabetes and Emotional Health handbook and toolkit. Nineteen health professionals took part in the qualitative study about the handbook and toolkit. They viewed the resources favourably, felt empowered to support people with diabetes experiencing psychological problems and felt motivated to share the resources with others. Some gave examples of how they had used the handbook in clinical practice. A perceived highlight was the inclusion of a process model outlining seven steps for identifying and supporting people with emotional problems: the 7 A’s model. With funding from the National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS), more than 2400 copies of Diabetes and Emotional Health have been distributed. The NDSS is an initiative of the Australian Government administered with the assistance of Diabetes Australia. Conclusions: The new evidence-based resources are perceived by stakeholders as effective aids to assist health professionals in providing emotional support to adults with diabetes. The 7 A’s model may have clinical utility for routine monitoring of other psychological and health-related problems, as part of person-centred clinical care.

  • Using Wearable Devices to Remotely Monitor Sleep Patterns among Patients with Ischemic Heart Disease

    Date Submitted: Apr 28, 2019

    Open Peer Review Period: May 1, 2019 - Jun 26, 2019

    Background: There is growing interest in using wearable devices to remotely monitor patient behaviors. However, there has been little evaluation of the feasibility of using these technologies to monit...

    Background: There is growing interest in using wearable devices to remotely monitor patient behaviors. However, there has been little evaluation of the feasibility of using these technologies to monitor sleep patterns, particularly among more high-risk patients. Objective: To evaluate how patients with ischemic heart disease used wearable devices to monitor their sleep and identify differences in characteristics of patients with higher versus lower utilization. Methods: We evaluated wearable device data from a previously conducted clinical trial testing the use of wearable devices with personalized goal-setting and financial incentives. Patients with ischemic heart disease established a sleep baseline and then were followed for 6 months. The proportion of days that sleep data was collected was compared over the 6 months and by study arm. Characteristics of patients were compared to groups with high, low, or no sleep data. Results: The sample comprised 99 patients with ischemic heart disease, among which 79% used the wearable device to track their sleep. During the 6-month trial, sleep data was collected on 60% of patient-days. These rates declined over time from 77% in months 1-2 to 58% in months 3-4 to 46% in months 5-6. Sleep data was collected at higher rates among the intervention group compared to control (67% vs. 55%, p<0.001). In the main intervention period (months 3-4), patients with higher rates of sleep data were on average older (p<0.05), had a history of smoking (p<0.01), and had higher rates of commercial health insurance (p<0.05). Conclusions: Among patients with ischemic heart disease in a physical activity trial, a high proportion used wearable devices to track their sleep, however rates declined over time. The study of sleep patterns with wearable devices is feasible, and future research should consider larger evaluations coupled with behavioral interventions Clinical Trial: https://www.clinicaltrials.gov. Unique identifier: NCT02531022

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