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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:

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

    Designing a Mobile App to Enhance Parenting Skills of Latinx Parents: A Community-Based Participatory Approach


    Background: Latinx families are among the highest users of smartphones, yet few health-focused Web programs have been developed for this audience. Parent-based smartphone apps designed for Latinx families may help increase access to evidence-informed parenting programming and ultimately reduce health disparities among children and adolescents. To maximize uptake of such apps, the Center for eHealth Research and Disease Management (CeHRes) Roadmap for electronic health (eHealth) development recommends 5 phases of development: (1) contextual inquiry, (2) value specification, (3) design, (4) operationalization, and (5) evaluation. Objective: Guided by the CeHRes Roadmap, our objective was to apply a community-based participatory research (CBPR) approach to mobile app development. We present a formative evaluation to inform the design of an eHealth mobile app for Latinx parents of adolescents based on a face-to-face parenting program, Padres Informados/Jovenes Preparados (PIJP). Methods: Community participants in the process included Latinx parents and stakeholders. We conducted a parent survey (N=115) and interviews (N=20) to understand the context and obtain feedback on a mockup and prototype of the app, facilitator workshops to streamline content, and stakeholder interviews (N=4) to discuss values and app requirements. Results: We report results from the first 3 phases of the CeHRes Roadmap. In the survey, 96.5% (111/115) of parents reported they had access to a cell phone, 85.6% (89/104) reported they would use a parenting app in the next month if they had access, and 80.2% (89/111) reported intentions to use a stress reduction app. Parents reported that setting goals about parenting and tracking those goals were important potential features of an app. In logistic regression analyses, technology attitudes and barriers were not related to parent’s intentions to use a parenting mobile app (95% CI 0.51-1.17 and 95% CI 0.28-2.12, respectively). Qualitative interviews confirmed Latinx parents’ technology engagement and desire for education and child development information online. Stakeholder interviews identified 3 community values: familism, the promotion of adolescent health, and delivery of economic value. Community stakeholders participated in defining the mobile app requirements. On the basis of community and parent input, the mobile app prototype was designed with 3 sections: (1) 8 modules of video-based parenting skills instruction with content from the face-to-face PIJP program, (2) breath rate information from a wearable device to support awareness of stress levels that could affect parenting, and (3) goal setting and tracking capacities. Conclusions: The findings of this study highlight the utility of an iterative, participatory design process. The CBPR approach and community collaboration enhanced the CeHRes Roadmap by promoting power sharing, facilitating recruitment, and building trust among community members. Experiences applying community research to the initial 3 phases of the CeHRes Roadmap in a Latinx community are discussed, along with plans for the 2 final phases.

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    Development of a National Caregiver Health Survey for Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant: Qualitative Study of Cognitive Interviews and Verbal Probing


    Background: Roadmap 1.0 is a mobile health app that was previously developed for caregivers of patients who have undergone hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). Formative research targeted toward its end users (caregivers) can help inform app design and development, allowing additional components to be incorporated into the app, which can then be tested in a future randomized controlled trial. Objective: This study aimed to create a methodologically rigorous national survey that would help inform the development of Roadmap 2.0. Methods: We conducted a prospective, qualitative research study that took place between November 18, 2018, and February 7, 2019, in a blood and marrow transplant unit within a large academic medical institution in the midwestern part of the United States. Cognitive interviews, including think-aloud and verbal probing techniques, were conducted in 10 adult caregivers (≥18 years) of patients who had undergone HSCT. Results: Most participants were female (9/10, 90%), white (9/10, 90%), married (9/10, 90%), employed at least part time (6/10, 60%), caregivers of adult patients (7/10, 70%), and had some college education (9/10, 90%) and an annual household income of $60,000 or higher (6/10, 60%). All but one interview was audio-recorded, with permission. Overall, participants were engaged in the cognitive interview process of the draft survey, which included 7 topics. The interviews highlighted areas wherein survey items could be further refined, such as offering more response choices (eg, “NA”) or clarifying the type of transplant (eg, autologous or allogeneic) or context of transplant care (eg, pre-HSCT, during HSCT, post-HSCT, inpatient, and outpatient). Apart from these findings, the items in demographics, caregiving experiences, technology, positive activities, and mood were generally interpreted as intended. On the basis of the transcript data and field notes by the interviewer, items within self-efficacy (Caregiver Self-Efficacy Scale) and coping (Brief Coping Orientation to Problems Experienced inventory) questionnaires generated more confusion among interviewer and participants, reflecting difficulties in interpreting the meaning of some survey items. Conclusions: This study incorporated the four cognitive aspects of survey methodology that describe the question-answering process—(1) comprehension, (2) information retrieval, (3) judgment and decision making, and (4) responding—by using the think-aloud and probing techniques in cognitive interviews. We conclude that this methodologically rigorous process informed revisions and improved our final questionnaire design.

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    The Use and Effects of an App-Based Physical Activity Intervention “Active2Gether” in Young Adults: Quasi-Experimental Trial


    Background: Insufficient physical activity (PA) is highly prevalent and associated with adverse health conditions and the risk of noncommunicable diseases. To increase levels of PA, effective interventions to promote PA are needed. Present-day technologies such as smartphones, smartphone apps, and activity trackers offer several possibilities in health promotion. Objective: This study aimed to explore the use and short-term effects of an app-based intervention (Active2Gether) to increase the levels of PA in young adults. Methods: Young adults aged 18-30 years were recruited (N=104) using diverse recruitment strategies. The participants were allocated to the Active2Gether-Full condition (tailored coaching messages, self-monitoring, and social comparison), Active2Gether-Light condition (self-monitoring and social comparison), and the Fitbit-only control condition (self-monitoring). All participants received a Fitbit One activity tracker, which could be synchronized with the intervention apps, to monitor PA behavior. A 12-week quasi-experimental trial was conducted to explore the intervention effects on weekly moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA) and relevant behavioral determinants (ie, self-efficacy, outcome expectations, social norm, intentions, satisfaction, perceived barriers, and long-term goals). The ActiGraph wGT3XBT and GT3X+ were used to assess baseline and postintervention follow-up PA. Results: Compared with the Fitbit condition, the Active2Gether-Light condition showed larger effect sizes for minutes of MVPA per day (regression coefficient B=3.1; 95% CI −6.7 to 12.9), and comparatively smaller effect sizes were seen for the Active2Gether-Full condition (B=1.2; 95% CI −8.7 to 11.1). Linear and logistic regression analyses for the intervention effects on the behavioral determinants at postintervention follow-up showed no significant intervention effects of the Active2Gether-Full and Active2Gether-Light conditions. The overall engagement with the Fitbit activity tracker was high (median 88% (74/84) of the days), but lower in the Fitbit condition. Participants in the Active2Gether conditions reported more technical problems than those in the Fitbit condition. Conclusions: This study showed no statistically significant differences in MVPA or determinants of MVPA after exposure to the Active2Gether-Full condition compared with the Active2Gether-Light or Fitbit condition. This might partly be explained by the small sample size and the low rates of satisfaction in the participants in the two Active2Gether conditions that might be because of the high rates of technical problems.

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

    A Web-Based Communication Platform to Improve Home Care Services in Norway (DigiHelse): Pilot Study


    Background: Home care service in Norway is struggling to meet the increasing demand for health care under restricted budget constraints, although one-fourth of municipal budgets are dedicated to health services. The integration of Web-based technology in at-home care is expected to enhance communication and patient involvement, increase efficiency and reduce cost. DigiHelse is a Web-based platform designed to reinforce home care service in Norway and is currently undergoing a development process to meet the predefined needs of the country’s municipalities. Some of the main features of the platform are digital messages between residents and the home care service, highlighting information on planned and completed visits, the opportunity to cancel visits, and notifications for completed visits. Objective: This study aimed to test the usability and economic feasibility of adopting DigiHelse in four districts in Oslo by applying registry and behavioral data collected throughout a one-year pilot study. Early health technology assessment was used to estimate the potential future value of DigiHelse, including the predictive value of behavior data. Methods: Outcome measures identified by stakeholder insights and scenario drafting in the project’s concept phase were used to assess potential socioeconomic benefits. Aggregated data were collected to assess changes in health consumption at baseline, and then 15 and 52 weeks after DigiHelse was implemented. The present value calculation was updated with data from four intervention groups and one control group. A quasi-experimental difference-in-difference design was applied to estimate the causal effect. Descriptive behavioral data from the digital platform was applied to assess the usability of the platform. Results: Over the total study period (52 weeks), rates increased for all outcome estimates: the number of visits (rate ratio=1.04; P=.10), unnecessary trips (rate ratio=1.37; P=.26), and phone calls (rate ratio=1.24; P=.08). A significant gap was found between the estimated value of DigiHelse in the concept phase and after the one-year pilot. In the present pilot assessment, costs are expected to exceed potential savings by €67 million (US $75 million) over ten years, as compared to the corresponding concept estimates of a potential gain of €172.6 million (US $193.6 million). Interestingly, behavioral data from the digital platform revealed that only 3.55% (121/3405) of recipients actively used the platform after one year. Conclusions: Behavioral data provides a valuable source for assessing usability. In this pilot study, the low adoption rate may, at least in part, explain the inability of DigiHelse to perform as expected. This study points to an early assessment of behavioral data as an opportunity to identify inefficiencies and direct digital development. For DigiHelse, insight into why the recipients in Oslo have not made greater use of the Web-based platform seems to be the next step in ensuring the right improvement measures for the home care service.

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    A Smartphone App Designed to Help Cancer Patients Stop Smoking: Results From a Pilot Randomized Trial on Feasibility, Acceptability, and Effectiveness


    Background: Persistent smoking after a cancer diagnosis predicts worse treatment outcomes and mortality, but access to effective smoking cessation interventions is limited. Smartphone apps can address this problem by providing a highly accessible, low-cost smoking cessation intervention designed for patients with a recent cancer diagnosis. Objective: This study aimed to summarize our development process and report the trial design, feasibility, participant acceptability, preliminary effectiveness, and impact on processes of change (eg, cancer stigma) of the first-known smoking cessation smartphone app targeted for cancer patients. Methods: We used an agile, user-centered design framework to develop a fully automated smartphone app called Quit2Heal that provided skills training and stories from cancer survivors focusing on coping with internalized shame, cancer stigma, depression, and anxiety as core triggers of smoking. Quit2Heal was compared with the National Cancer Institute’s QuitGuide, a widely used stop smoking app for the general population, in a pilot double-blinded randomized trial with a 2-month follow-up period. Participants were 59 adult smokers diagnosed with cancer within the past 12 months and recruited through 2 cancer center care networks and social media over a 12-month period. The most common types of cancer diagnosed were lung (21/59, 36%) and breast (10/59, 17%) cancers. The 2-month follow-up survey retention rate was 92% (54/59) and did not differ by study arm (P=.15). Results: Compared with QuitGuide participants, Quit2Heal participants were more satisfied with their assigned app (90% [19/21] for Quit2Heal vs 65% [17/26] for QuitGuide; P=.047) and were more likely to report that the app assigned to them was made for someone like them (86% [18/21] for Quit2Heal vs 62% [16/26] for QuitGuide; P=.04). Quit2Heal participants opened their app a greater number of times during the 2-month trial period, although this difference was not statistically significant (mean 10.0, SD 14.40 for Quit2Heal vs mean 6.1, SD 5.3 for QuitGuide; P=.33). Self-reported 30-day point prevalence quit rates at the 2-month follow-up were 20% (5/25) for Quit2Heal versus 7% (2/29) for QuitGuide (odds ratio 5.16, 95% CI 0.71-37.29; P=.10). Quit2Heal participants also showed greater improvement in internalized shame, cancer stigma, depression, and anxiety, although these were not statistically significant (all P>.05). Conclusions: In a pilot randomized trial with a high short-term retention rate, Quit2Heal showed promising acceptability and effectiveness for helping cancer patients stop smoking. Testing in a full-scale randomized controlled trial with a longer follow-up period and a larger sample size is required to test the effectiveness, mediators, and moderators of this promising digital cessation intervention. Clinical Trial: NCT03600038;

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    Using Natural Language Processing to Examine the Uptake, Content, and Readability of Media Coverage of a Pan-Canadian Drug Safety Research Project:...


    Background: Isotretinoin, for treating cystic acne, increases the risk of miscarriage and fetal abnormalities when taken during pregnancy. The Health Canada–approved product monograph for isotretinoin includes pregnancy prevention guidelines. A recent study by the Canadian Network for Observational Drug Effect Studies (CNODES) on the occurrence of pregnancy and pregnancy outcomes during isotretinoin therapy estimated poor adherence to these guidelines. Media uptake of this study was unknown; awareness of this uptake could help improve drug safety communication. Objective: The aim of this study was to understand how the media present pharmacoepidemiological research using the CNODES isotretinoin study as a case study. Methods: Google News was searched (April 25-May 6, 2016), using a predefined set of terms, for mention of the CNODES study. In total, 26 articles and 3 CNODES publications (original article, press release, and podcast) were identified. The article texts were cleaned (eg, advertisements and links removed), and the podcast was transcribed. A dictionary of 1295 unique words was created using natural language processing (NLP) techniques (term frequency-inverse document frequency, Porter stemming, and stop-word filtering) to identify common words and phrases. Similarity between the articles and reference publications was calculated using Euclidian distance; articles were grouped using hierarchical agglomerative clustering. Nine readability scales were applied to measure text readability based on factors such as number of words, difficult words, syllables, sentence counts, and other textual metrics. Results: The top 5 dictionary words were pregnancy (250 appearances), isotretinoin (220), study (209), drug (201), and women (185). Three distinct clusters were identified: Clusters 2 (5 articles) and 3 (4 articles) were from health-related websites and media, respectively; Cluster 1 (18 articles) contained largely media sources; 2 articles fell outside these clusters. Use of the term isotretinoin versus Accutane (a brand name of isotretinoin), discussion of pregnancy complications, and assignment of responsibility for guideline adherence varied between clusters. For example, the term pregnanc appeared most often in Clusters 1 (14.6 average times per article) and 2 (11.4) and relatively infrequently in Cluster 3 (1.8). Average readability for all articles was high (eg, Flesch-Kincaid, 13; Gunning Fog, 15; SMOG Index, 10; Coleman Liau Index, 15; Linsear Write Index, 13; and Text Standard, 13). Readability increased from Cluster 2 (Gunning Fog of 16.9) to 3 (12.2). It varied between clusters (average 13th-15th grade) but exceeded the recommended health information reading level (grade 6th to 8th), overall. Conclusions: Media interpretation of the CNODES study varied, with differences in synonym usage and areas of focus. All articles were written above the recommended health information reading level. Analyzing media using NLP techniques can help determine drug safety communication effectiveness. This project is important for understanding how drug safety studies are taken up and redistributed in the media.

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

    An Integrated mHealth App for Dengue Reporting and Mapping, Health Communication, and Behavior Modification: Development and Assessment of Mozzify


    Background: For the last 10 years, mobile phones have provided the global health community with innovative and cost-effective strategies to address the challenges in the prevention and management of dengue fever. Objective: The aim is to introduce and describe the design and development process of Mozzify, an integrated mobile health (mHealth) app that features real-time dengue fever case reporting and mapping system, health communication (real-time worldwide news and chat forum/timeline, within-app educational videos, links to local and international health agency websites, interactive signs and symptoms checker, and a hospital directions system), and behavior modification (reminders alert program on the preventive practices against dengue fever). We also aim to assess Mozzify in terms of engagement and information-sharing abilities, functionality, aesthetics, subjective quality, and perceived impact. Methods: The main goals of the Mozzify app were to increase awareness, improve knowledge, and change attitudes about dengue fever, health care-seeking behavior, and intention-to-change behavior on preventive practices for dengue fever among users. It was assessed using the Mobile Application Rating Scale (MARS) among 50 purposively sampled individuals: public health experts (n=5), environment and health-related researchers (n=23), and nonclinical (end users) participants (n=22). Results: High acceptability and excellent satisfaction ratings (mean scores ≥4.0 out of 5) based on the MARS subscales indicate that the app has excellent user design, functionality, usability, engagement, and information among public health experts, environment and health-related researchers, and end users. The app’s subjective quality (recommending the app to other people and the app’s overall star rating), and specific quality (increase awareness, improve knowledge, and change attitudes about dengue fever; health care-seeking behavior; and intention-to-change behavior on preventive practices for dengue fever) also obtained excellent satisfaction ratings from the participants. Some issues and suggestions were raised during the focus group and individual discussions regarding the availability of the app for Android devices, language options limitations, provision of predictive surveillance, and inclusion of other mosquito-borne diseases. Conclusions: Mozzify may be a promising integrated strategic health intervention system for dengue fever case reporting and mapping; increase awareness, improve knowledge, and change attitude about dengue fever; and disseminating and sharing information on dengue fever among the general population and health experts. It also can be an effective aid in the successful translation of knowledge on preventive measures against dengue fever to practice.

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

    A Web-Based Alcohol Risk Communication Tool: Development and Pretesting Study


    Background: Alcohol use is a major public health concern associated with an increased risk of morbidity and mortality. Health professionals in primary care commonly see patients with a range of alcohol-related risks and problems, providing an ideal opportunity for screening and brief intervention (BI). Objective: This study aimed to develop a prototype for a Web-based tool for use by primary care health professionals (eg, doctors and nurses) to communicate alcohol harm risk to their patients and to engage with them regarding ways this risk could be reduced. Methods: Following conceptualization and development of prototype wireframes, formative work and pretesting were undertaken. For the formative work, focus groups and key informant interviews were conducted with potential end users of the risk communication tool, including health professionals and consumers. The focus groups and interviews explored perceptions of alcohol risk communication and obtained feedback on the initial prototype. For pretesting, participants (primary care doctors and nurses) completed a Web-based survey followed by a period of pretesting before completion of a follow-up survey. The study was designed to gain feedback on the tool’s performance in real-world settings as well as its relevance, ease of use, and any suggested refinements. Results: In the formative work stage, 11 key informants and 7 consumers participated in either focus groups or individual interviews. Participants were very positive about the prototype and believed that it would be useful and acceptable in practice. Key informants identified that the key point of difference with the tool was that it provided all the pieces in 1 place (ie, assessment, interpretation, and resources to support change). Participants provided feedback on how the tool could be improved, and these suggestions were incorporated into the prototype where possible. In the pretesting stage, 7 people (5 doctors and 2 primary care nurses) completed the pretesting. Participants reported that the tool provided a useful framework for an intervention, that it would be acceptable to patients, that it was easy to use, that they would be likely to use it in practice, and that there were no technical issues. Conclusions: The alcohol risk communication tool was found to be acceptable and has the potential to increase the confidence of health professionals in assessing risk and providing BI.

  • TOC image. Source: Image created by the authors; Copyright: The Authors; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution + Noncommercial (CC-BY-NC).

    Understanding End-User Perspectives of Mobile Pulmonary Rehabilitation (mPR): Cross-Sectional Survey and Interviews


    Background: Pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) is an effective intervention for the management of people with chronic respiratory diseases, but the uptake of and adherence to PR programs is low. There is potential for mobile health (mHealth) to provide an alternative modality for the delivery of PR, overcoming many of the barriers contributing to poor attendance to current services. Objective: The objective of this study was to understand the needs, preferences, and priorities of end users for the development of an adaptive mobile PR (mPR) support program. Methods: A mixed methods (qualitative and quantitative) approach was used to assess the needs, preferences, and priorities of the end users (ie, patients with chronic respiratory disorders) and key stakeholders (ie, clinicians working with patients with chronic respiratory disorders and running PR). The formative studies included the following: (1) a survey to understand the preferences and priorities of patients for PR and how mobile technology could be used to provide PR support, (2) ethnographic semistructured interviews with patients with chronic respiratory disorders to gain perspectives on their understanding of their health and potential features that could be included in an mPR program, and (3) key informant interviews with health care providers to understand the needs, preferences, and priorities for the development of an mPR support program. Results: Across all formative studies (patient survey, n=30; patient interviews, n=8; and key stakeholder interviews, n=8), the participants were positive about the idea of an mPR program but raised concerns related to digital literacy and confidence in using technology, access to technology, and loss of social support currently gained from traditional programs. Key stakeholders highlighted the need for patient safety to be maintained and ensuring appropriate programs for different groups within the population. Finding a balance between ensuring safety and maximizing access was seen to be essential in the success of an mPR program. Conclusions: These formative studies found high interest in mHealth-based PR intervention and detailed the potential for an mPR program to overcome current barriers to accessing traditional PR programs. Key considerations and features were identified, including the importance of technology access and digital literacy being considered in utilizing technology with this population.

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    Web-Based Module for the Collection of Electronic Patient-Reported Outcomes in People Living With HIV in Nouvelle Aquitaine, France: Usability Evaluation


    Background: Patient-reported outcomes (PROs) can be of great value for both research and chronic disease management. We developed a new module of the ANRS CO3 Aquitaine cohort study’s Web-based data capture and visualization solution (APPEGE 2.0) for the collection of electronic PROs among people living with HIV cared for in Nouvelle Aquitaine, France. Objective: This study aimed to evaluate the usability of 2 successively developed prototypes of ARPEGE 2.0’s electronic PROs module before launching a pilot study, owing to the novelty of the proposed data collection method for our setting and specific characteristics of the target population. Methods: A total of 2 sequential rounds of empirical, task-based usability evaluations were conducted, involving 8 research staff and then 7 people living with HIV. Evaluators provided written feedback during round 1 and oral feedback during round 2. Evaluators who completed the full set of tasks responded to the System Usability Scale (SUS). We assessed changes in SUS scores between rounds and concluded usability testing when SUS scores reached a ceiling effect, defining good usability a priori as a usability score of 70. Results: Insights were generated regarding the visibility of system status and the match between the system and the real world that improved the module’s usability. Research staff evaluators reported mean SUS scores of 65 (SD 18.87) and patient evaluators reported mean SUS scores of 85 (SD 5.4; P=.032). Conclusions: Software modifications, informed by successive rounds of usability testing, resulted in sufficient gains in usability to undertake piloting. Insights generated during evaluations prompted us to find the appropriate balance between optimal security and ease of use. Clinical Trial: NCT03296202;

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    Beliefs Related to Participation in a Large Web-Based Prospective Survey on Diet and Health Among Individuals With a Low Socioeconomic Status: Qualitative Study


    Background: NutriQuébec is a Web-based prospective study on the relationship between diet and health as well as the impact of food-related health policies in the adult population of Québec, Canada. Recruitment and retention of individuals with a low socioeconomic status (SES) in such a study are known to be challenging, yet critical for achieving representativeness of the entire population. Objective: This study aimed to identify the behavioral, normative, and control beliefs of individuals with a low SES regarding participation in the NutriQuébec project and to identify their preferences regarding recruitment methods. Methods: A total of four focus groups were conducted in community centers located in low-income areas of Québec City, Canada. On the basis of the theory of planned behavior, participants’ beliefs associated with attitude, subjective norm, and perceived behavioral control regarding hypothetical participation in the NutriQuébec project were identified. Focus groups were recorded, transcribed, and coded by two analysts. Results: Participants (16 men and 12 women) were aged between 28 and 72 years, and a majority of the participants had an annual household income of Can $19,999 or less. The main perceived advantages of participating in the NutriQuébec project were contributing to improved collective health and supporting research. The only disadvantage identified was the risk of having to fill out too many questionnaires. Participants could not, in general, identify persons from their entourage who would approve or disapprove their participation in the study. The main facilitators identified were obtaining a brief health assessment and the ability to complete questionnaires in a way that is not Web-based. The main barrier was the lack of internet access. The preferred means of recruitment were through social media, television, and community centers. Conclusions: These results provide insightful information regarding the best methods and messages to use in order to recruit and retain individuals with a low SES in a population-based prospective study on lifestyle and health on the internet.

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

    Acceptability and Use of Interactive Voice Response Mobile Phone Surveys for Noncommunicable Disease Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance in Rural Uganda:...


    Background: There is need for more timely data to inform interventions that address the growing noncommunicable disease (NCD) epidemic. With a global increase in mobile phone ownership, mobile phone surveys can bridge this gap. Objective: This study aimed to explore the acceptability and use of interactive voice response (IVR) surveys for surveillance of NCD behavioral risk factors in rural Uganda. Methods: This qualitative study employed user group testing (UGT) with community members. The study was conducted at the Iganga-Mayuge Health and Demographic Surveillance Site (IM-HDSS) in Eastern Uganda. We conducted four UGTs which consisted of different categories of HDSS members: females living in urban areas, males living in urban areas, females living in rural areas, and males living in rural areas. Participants were individually sent an IVR survey, then were brought in for a group discussion using a semistructured guide. Data were analyzed thematically using directed content analysis. Results: Participants perceived that IVR surveys may be useful in promoting confidentiality, saving costs, and raising awareness on NCD behavioral risk factors. Due to the clarity and delivery of questions in the local language, the IVR survey was perceived as easy to use. Community members suggested scheduling surveys on specific days and sending reminders as ways to improve their use for surveillance. Social issues such as domestic violence and perceptions toward unknown calls, technological factors including poor network connections and inability to use phones, and personal issues such as lack of access to phones and use of multiple networks were identified as barriers to the acceptability and use of mobile phone surveys. However, incentives were reported to motivate people to complete the survey. Conclusions: Community members reflected on contextual and sociological implications of using mobile phones for surveillance of NCD behavioral risk factors. The opportunities and challenges that affect acceptability and use of IVR surveys should be considered in designing and implementing surveillance programs for NCD risk factors.

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    Open Peer Review Period: Dec 17, 2019 - Feb 11, 2020

    Displeasure with clinical decision support systems (CDSS) functionality is considered the primary challenge in CDSS development. A major difficulty in CDSS design is matching the functionality to corr...

    Displeasure with clinical decision support systems (CDSS) functionality is considered the primary challenge in CDSS development. A major difficulty in CDSS design is matching the functionality to correct and actual clinical workflow. Computer-Interpretable guidelines (CIG) are used to formalize medical knowledge in clinical practice guidelines (CPG) in a computable language, however, existing CIG frameworks require a specific interpreter for each language, hindering the ease of implementation and interoperability. This has led the authors to propose a different approach in terms of how clinical knowledge and data is represented and change the clinician’s perception of a CDSS. This approach was originally intended to create a readable and minimal syntax for a web CDSS for antenatal care guidelines, with improved human-computer interaction and enhanced usability by aligning the system behavior with clinical workflow.