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JMIR Human Factors

Making health care interventions and technologies usable, safe, and effective


Journal Description

JMIR Human Factors (JHF) is a PubMed-indexed, peer-reviewed sister journal of JMIR, a leading open access eHealth journal  (Impact Factor 2016: 5.175).
JMIR Human Factors is a multidisciplinary journal with contributions from medical researchers, engineers, and social scientists.
JMIR Human Factors focuses on understanding how the behaviour and thinking of humans can influence and shape the design of health care interventions and technologies, and how the design can be evaluated and improved to make health care interventions and technologies usable, safe, and effective. JHF aspires to lead health care towards a culture of testing and safety by promoting and publishing reports rigorously evaluating the usability and human factors aspects in health care, as well as encouraging the development and debate on new methods in this emerging field. 
All articles are professionally copyedited and typeset, ready for indexing in PubMed/PubMed Central. Possible contributions include usability studies and heuristic evaluations, studies concerning ergonomics and error prevention, design studies for medical devices and healthcare systems/workflows, enhancing teamwork through Human Factors based teamwork training, measuring non-technical skills in staff like leadership, communication, situational awareness and teamwork, and healthcare policies and procedures to reduce errors and increase safety. Reviews, viewpoint papers and tutorials are as welcome as original research.

Editorial Board members are currently being recruited, please contact us if you are interested ( at


Recent Articles:

  • Home page of the app developed to support patient postoperative rehabilitation after rotator cuff repair (montage). Source: The Authors /; Copyright: JMIR Publications; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Challenges During Implementation of a Patient-Facing Mobile App for Surgical Rehabilitation: Feasibility Study


    Background: Translating research into practice, especially the implementation of digital health technologies in routine care, is increasingly important. Yet, there are few studies examining the challenges of implementing patient-facing digital technologies in health care settings. Objective: The aim of this study was to report challenges experienced when implementing mobile apps for patients to support their postsurgical rehabilitation in an orthopedic setting. Methods: A mobile app was tailored to the needs of patients undergoing rotator cuff repair. A 30-min usability session and a 12-week feasibility study were conducted with patients to evaluate the app in routine care. Implementation records (observation reports, issues log, and email correspondence) explored factors that hindered or facilitated patient acceptance. Interviews with clinicians explored factors that influenced app integration in routine care. Results: Participant completion was low (47%, 9/19). Factors that affected patient acceptance included digital literacy, health status, information technology (IT) infrastructure at home, privacy concerns, time limitations, the role of a caregiver, inconsistencies in instruction received from clinicians and the app, and app advice not reflective of patient progress over time. Factors that negatively influenced app integration in routine care included competing demands among clinicians, IT infrastructure in health care settings, identifying the right time to introduce the app to patients, user interface complexity for older patients, lack of coordination among multidisciplinary clinicians, and technical issues with app installation. Conclusions: Three insights were identified for mobile app implementation in routine care: (1) apps for patients need to reflect their journey over time and in particular, postoperative apps ought to be introduced as part of preoperative care with opportunities for patients to learn and adopt the app during their postoperative journey; (2) strategies to address digital literacy issues among patients and clinicians are essential; and (3) impact of the app on patient outcomes and clinician workflow needs to be communicated, monitored, and reviewed. Lastly, digital health interventions should supplement but not replace patient interaction with clinicians.

  • Paralympic athlete with visual impairment use a speech synthesizer to self-report Sports-Related Injuries and Illnesses. Source: Image created by the Authors; Copyright: The Authors; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    An eHealth Application of Self-Reported Sports-Related Injuries and Illnesses in Paralympic Sport: Pilot Feasibility and Usability Study


    Background: Sport participation is associated with a risk of sports-related injuries and illnesses, and Paralympic athletes’ additional medical issues can be a challenge to health care providers and medical staff. However, few prospective studies have assessed sports-related injuries and illnesses in Paralympic sport (SRIIPS) over time. Advances in mobile phone technology and networking systems offer novel opportunities to develop innovative eHealth applications for collection of athletes’ self-reports. Using eHealth applications for collection of self-reported SRIIPS is an unexplored area, and before initiation of full-scale research of SRIIPS, the feasibility and usability of such an approach needs to be ascertained. Objective: The aim of this study was to perform a 4-week pilot study and (1) evaluate the monitoring feasibility and system usability of a novel eHealth application for self-reported SRIIPS and (2) report preliminary data on SRIIPS. Methods: An eHealth application for routine collection of data from athletes was developed and adapted to Paralympic athletes. A 4-week pilot study was performed where Paralympic athletes (n=28) were asked to weekly self-report sport exposure, training load, general well-being, pain, sleep, anxiety, and possible SRIIPS. The data collection was followed by a poststudy use assessment survey. Quantitative data related to the system use (eg, completed self-reports, missing responses, and errors) were analyzed using descriptive statistics. The qualitative feasibility and usability data provided by the athletes were condensed and categorized using thematic analysis methods. Results: The weekly response rate was 95%. The athletes were of the opinion that the eHealth application was usable and feasible but stated that it was not fully adapted to Paralympic athletes and their impairments. For example, it was difficult to understand how a new injury or illness should be identified when the impairment was involved. More survey items related to the impairments were requested, as the athletes perceived that injuries and illnesses often occurred because of the impairment. Options for description of multifactorial incidents including an injury, an illness, and the impairment were also insufficient. Few technical issues were encountered, but athletes with visual impairment reported usability difficulties with the speech synthesizer. An incidence rate of 1.8 injuries and 1.7 illnesses per 100 hours of athlete exposure were recorded. The weekly pain prevalence was 56% and the impairment contributed to 20% of the reported incidents. Conclusions: The novel eHealth-based application for self-reported SRIIPS developed and tested in this pilot study was generally feasible and usable. With some adaptation to accommodate Paralympic athletes’ prerequisites and improved technical support for athletes with visual impairment, this application can be recommended for use in prospective studies of SRIIPS. Trial Registration: NCT02788500; (Archived by WebCite at

  • Tidbit, our Version 3 design and new test strip cassettes. The confusing pull-out tray has been eliminated, and the asymmetry of the device prevents users from inadvertently placing it upside down. Source: Figure 6 from; Copyright: the authors; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Enhancing the Usability of an Optical Reader System to Support Point-of-Care Rapid Diagnostic Testing: An Iterative Design Approach


    Background: In today’s health care environment, increasing costs and inadequate medical resources have created a worldwide need for more affordable diagnostic tools that are also portable, fast, and easy to use. To address this issue, numerous research and commercial efforts have focused on developing rapid diagnostic technologies; however, the efficacy of existing systems has been hindered by usability problems or high production costs, making them infeasible for deployment in at-home, point-of-care (POC), or resource-limited settings. Objective: The aim of this study was to create a low-cost optical reader system that integrates with any smart device and accepts any type of rapid diagnostic test strip to provide fast and accurate data collection, sample analysis, and diagnostic result reporting. Methods: An iterative design methodology was employed by a multidisciplinary research team to engineer three versions of a portable diagnostic testing device that were evaluated for usability and overall user receptivity. Results: Repeated design critiques and usability studies identified a number of system requirements and considerations (eg, software compatibility, biomatter contamination, and physical footprint) that we worked to incrementally incorporate into successive system variants. Our final design phase culminated in the development of Tidbit, a reader that is compatible with any Wi-Fi-enabled device and test strip format. The Tidbit includes various features that support intuitive operation, including a straightforward test strip insertion point, external indicator lights, concealed electronic components, and an asymmetric shape, which inherently signals correct device orientation. Usability testing of the Tidbit indicates high usability for potential user communities. Conclusions: This study presents the design process, specification, and user reception of the Tidbit, an inexpensive, easy-to-use, portable optical reader for fast, accurate quantification of rapid diagnostic test results. Usability testing suggests that the reader is usable among and can benefit a wide group of potential users, including in POC contexts. Generally, the methodology of this study demonstrates the importance of testing these types of systems with potential users and exemplifies how iterative design processes can be employed by multidisciplinary research teams to produce compelling technological solutions.

  • Source: Pixabay; Copyright: StockSnap; URL:; License: Public Domain (CC0).

    Formative Assessment: Design of a Web-Connected Sedentary Behavior Intervention for Females


    Background: Sedentary behavior (SB) is a significant risk factor for heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and early mortality, particularly among women, and the health consequences associated with SB are independent of physical activity status. Interventions utilizing wearable technologies can improve SB, but their effectiveness is influenced by individual preferences, device engagement strategies, and technological features, which may affect user compliance. Gathering a priori insight from target populations on their preferences for program tools and strategies may assist researchers in identifying effective methods to improve the efficacy of SB interventions. Objective: The objective of this study was to (1) explore the likeability (likes and dislikes) and usability (engagement intentions and navigation) of a wearable device (Movband) and its accompanying website (dashboard), (2) examine social incentive preferences (teammates), and (3) assess the feasibility (participants’ experiences during an activity-monitoring period) of these tools for use in an intervention to reduce SB in girls and women. Methods: A total of 9 girls (mean age: 8.9 years, standard deviation [SD] 1.1 years) and 11 college-aged women (mean age: 22.6 years, SD 3.2 years) participated in this study. Separate focus groups were held for girls and women, and all participants attended one before and the other following a 7-day activity-monitoring period. During the focus groups, participants were prompted with questions to address the study aims, and the nominal group technique was used to compile lists of group-specific preferences for the activity-monitoring system. The top three ranking likes and dislikes were reverse coded to determine likeability. Results: The top-ranking responses for the girls and women were the following: visual display of movements and ease of navigation (dashboard like), boring to look at and no calorie-tracking function (dashboard dislike), backlight and long battery life (Movband like), and color and not waterproof (tied for girls) and vertical time display (Movband dislike). Additionally, participants identified several aesthetic preferences and functional limitations. At the second focus group visit, the majority of the participants self-reported less SB during the previous week. Objective data from the activity-monitoring period revealed that the average steps per day for girls and women were 12,373.4 (SD 2617.6) and 8515.8 (SD 3076.7), respectively. Conclusions: These results suggest that the girls and women liked many features of the Movband and dashboard. However, several dislikes were mentioned, which may negatively influence compliance and the effectiveness of the activity-monitoring system and require improvements before using in an SB intervention.

  • Healthy Beyond Pregnancy website (montage). Source: The Authors /; Copyright: JMIR Publications; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Healthy Beyond Pregnancy, a Web-Based Intervention to Improve Adherence to Postpartum Care: Randomized Controlled Feasibility Trial


    Background: During the postpartum visit, health care providers address issues with short- and long-term implications for maternal and child health. Women with Medicaid insurance are less likely to return for a postpartum visit compared with women with private insurance. Behavioral economics acknowledges that people do not make exclusively rational choices, rather immediate gratification, cognitive and psychological biases, and social norms influence decision making. Drawing on insights from decision science, behavioral economists have examined how these biases can be modulated through carefully designed interventions. We have developed a Web-based tool, Healthy Beyond Pregnancy, that incorporates empirically derived concepts of behavioral economics to improve adherence rates to the postpartum visit. Objectives: The primary objectives of this pilot study were to (1) refine and assess the usability of Healthy Beyond Pregnancy and (2) assess the feasibility of a randomized controlled trial (RCT) of the intervention. Methods: We used a multistep process and multidisciplinary team of maternal-fetal medicine physicians, a behavioral economist, and researchers with expertise in behavioral interventions to design Healthy Beyond Pregnancy. We assessed the usability of the program with the Post-Study System Usability Questionnaire (PSSUQ), a validated 7-point scale, and semistructured interviews with postpartum women. We then conducted a feasibility trial to determine the proportion of eligible women who were willing to participate in an RCT of Healthy Beyond Pregnancy and the proportion of women willing to complete the Web-based program. Exploratory outcomes of the pilot trial included attendance at the postpartum visit, uptake of long-acting reversible contraception, and uptake of any contraception. Results: The median PSSUQ score for Healthy Beyond Pregnancy was 6.5 (interquartile range: 6.1-7) demonstrating high usability. Semistructured interviews (n=10) provided in-depth comments about users’ experience and further improved the program. A total of 34 postpartum women with Medicaid insurance were approached for the pilot trial, and 30 (88%) were consented and randomized. All women randomized to Healthy Beyond Pregnancy completed the Web-based program, had text-enabled cell phones, and were willing to receive text messages from the study team. Women in the Healthy Beyond Pregnancy arm were more likely to return for a postpartum visit compared with women in the control arm with 85% of women in Healthy Beyond Pregnancy returning versus 53% in the control arm (odds ratio in the Healthy Beyond Pregnancy group: 5.3; 95% CI 0.9-32.0; P=.06). Conclusions: We have developed a highly usable and acceptable Web-based program designed to increase attendance at the postpartum visit. Our pilot trial demonstrates that women are willing and able to participate in a randomized trial of a Web-based program and text messaging system. Trial Registration: NCT03296774; (Archived by WebCite at

  • Source: Phil Jones, Senior Photographer, Augusta University; Copyright: Phil Jones; URL:; License: The permission was granted by the photographer.

    Defining Information Quality Into Health Websites: A Conceptual Framework of Health Website Information Quality for Educated Young Adults


    Background: Today’s health care environment encourages health care consumers to take an active role in managing their health. As digital natives, young educated adults do much of their health information management through the Internet and consider it a valid source of health advice. However, the quality of information on health websites is highly variable and dynamic. Little is known about the understandings and perceptions that young educated adults have garnered on the quality of information on health websites used for health care–related purposes. Objective: To fill this gap, the aim of this study was to develop a conceptual framework of health website information quality with quality dimensions (ie, criteria) and associated quality drivers (ie, attributes) specified in the context of young educated adults’ use of health websites for health care–related purposes. This aim was achieved by (1) identifying information quality dimensions of health websites from the perspective of young educated adults; (2) identifying the importance ratings of these quality dimensions; and (3) constructing a framework of health website information quality with quality dimensions and associated drivers specified in the context of young educated adults’ use of health websites for health care–related purposes. Methods: The study employed both qualitative and quantitative methods. Methods included semistructured group interviews and an individual quality assessment exercise grounded in visiting various websites and responding to Likert scale questions regarding the importance ratings of information quality dimensions and open-ended questions with specifying website quality drivers. Study participants included junior and senior undergraduate and graduate students in business, allied health, and public health majors. Qualitative, open-coding procedures were used to develop the conceptual framework reflecting the participants’ means of assessing information quality on health websites. Results: Five dimensions of information quality for health websites were identified: Completeness of information, Understandability of information, Relevance of information, Depth of information, and Accuracy of information. Completeness of information and Understandability of information were rated as the two most important quality dimensions by the study participants. Results indicated that these five information quality dimensions for health websites were supported by the following main driver themes: Content, Design, Links, Consumer resources, Search functionality, Supporting references, User focus, Content FAQ, Open access, Policy statements, and Site performance. Conclusions: This study contributes to the literature by developing a health website information quality conceptual framework with quality dimensions and associated drivers specified for a young educated adult population. The detailed quality drivers supporting the corresponding quality dimensions provide a rich picture of young educated adults’ perceptions on health website information quality. This framework can be used to guide the development of health websites, as well as the foundation for a means to evaluate health information from existing health websites with young educated adults as the target audience.

  • Data collection setup used to identify EHR workarounds. Source: Vincent Blijleven; Copyright: The Authors; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution + Noncommercial + NoDerivatives (CC-BY-NC-ND).

    Workarounds Emerging From Electronic Health Record System Usage: Consequences for Patient Safety, Effectiveness of Care, and Efficiency of Care


    Background: Health care providers resort to informal temporary practices known as workarounds for handling exceptions to normal workflow unintendedly imposed by electronic health record systems (EHRs). Although workarounds may seem favorable at first sight, they are generally suboptimal and may jeopardize patient safety, effectiveness of care, and efficiency of care. Objective: Research into the scope and impact of EHR workarounds on patient care processes is scarce. This paper provides insight into the effects of EHR workarounds on organizational workflows and outcomes of care services by identifying EHR workarounds and determining their rationales, scope, and impact on health care providers’ workflows, patient safety, effectiveness of care, and efficiency of care. Knowing the rationale of a workaround provides valuable clues about the source of origin of each workaround and how each workaround could most effectively be resolved. Knowing the scope and impact a workaround has on EHR-related safety, effectiveness, and efficiency provides insight into how to address related concerns. Methods: Direct observations and follow-up semistructured interviews with 31 physicians, 13 nurses, and 3 clerks and qualitative bottom-up coding techniques was used to identify, analyze, and classify EHR workarounds. The research was conducted within 3 specialties and settings at a large university hospital. Rationales were associated with work system components (persons, technology and tools, tasks, organization, and physical environment) of the Systems Engineering Initiative for Patient Safety (SEIPS) framework to reveal their source of origin as well as to determine the scope and the impact of each EHR workaround from a structure-process-outcome perspective. Results: A total of 15 rationales for EHR workarounds were identified of which 5 were associated with persons, 4 with technology and tools, 4 with the organization, and 2 with the tasks. Three of these 15 rationales for EHR workarounds have not been identified in prior research: data migration policy, enforced data entry, and task interference. Conclusions: EHR workaround rationales associated with different SEIPS work system components demand a different approach to be resolved. Persons-related workarounds may most effectively be resolved through personal training, organization-related workarounds through reviewing organizational policy and regulations, tasks-related workarounds through process redesign, and technology- and tools-related workarounds through EHR redesign efforts. Furthermore, insights gained from knowing a workaround’s degree of influence as well as impact on patient safety, effectiveness of care, and efficiency of care can inform design and redesign of EHRs to further align EHR design with work contexts, subsequently leading to better organization and (safe) provision of care. In doing so, a research team in collaboration with all stakeholders could use the SEIPS framework to reflect on the current and potential future configurations of the work system to prevent unfavorable workarounds from occurring and how a redesign of the EHR would impact interactions between the work system components.

  • Source: Pixabay; Copyright: smailox; URL:; License: Public Domain (CC0).

    Lack of Adoption of a Mobile App to Support Patient Self-Management of Diabetes and Hypertension in a Federally Qualified Health Center: Interview Analysis...


    Background: Thousands of mobile health (mHealth) apps have been developed to support patients’ management of their health, but the effectiveness of many of the apps remains unclear. While mHealth apps appear to hold promise for improving the self-management of chronic conditions across populations, failure to balance the system demands of the app with the needs, interests, or resources of the end users can undermine consumers’ adoption of these technologies. Objective: The original aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a commercial mHealth app in improving clinical outcomes for adult patients in a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) with uncontrolled diabetes and/or hypertension. Patients entered clinical data into the app, which also supported messaging between patients and providers. After a 4-month period of vigorous recruitment, the trial was suspended due to low enrollment and inconsistent use of the app by enrolled patients. The project aim was changed to understanding why the trial was unsuccessful. Methods: We used the user-task-context (eUTC) usability framework to develop a set of interview questions for patients and staff who were involved in the trial. All interviews were done by phone and lasted 20 to 30 minutes. Interviews were not recorded. Results: There was a poor fit between the app, end users, and recruitment and treatment approaches in our setting. Usability testing might have revealed this prior to launch but was not an option. There was not sufficient time during routine care for clinical staff to familiarize patients with the app or to check clinical data and messages, which are unreimbursed activities. Some patients did not use the app appropriately. The lack of integration with the electronic health record (EHR) was cited as a problem for both patients and staff who also said the app was just one more thing to attend to. Conclusions: This brief trial underscores the pitfalls in the utilization of mHealth apps. Effective use of mHealth tools requires a good fit between the app, the users’ electronic health (eHealth) literacy, the treatment approach, staff time, and reimbursement for services. The last 3 are contextual factors of the setting that affected the adoption of the app and context is an important factor in implementation science. We recommend that researchers address contextual factors in the trial and adoption of mHealth technologies.

  • Source: The Authors; Copyright: University of Applied Sciences Utrecht; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Perceptions of Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and Their Physiotherapists Regarding the Use of an eHealth Intervention


    Background: If eHealth interventions are not used (properly), their potential benefits cannot be fulfilled. User perceptions of eHealth are an important determinant of its successful implementation. This study examined how patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and their physiotherapists (PHTs) value an eHealth self-management intervention following a period of use. Objective: The study aimed to evaluate the perceptions of COPD patients and their PHTs as eHealth users. Methods: In this study, an eHealth self-management intervention (website and mobile phone app) aimed at stimulating physical activity (PA) in COPD patients was evaluated by its users (patients and PHTs). As participants in a randomized controlled trial (RCT), they were asked how they valued the eHealth intervention after 6 months’ use. Interview requests were made to 33 PHTs from 26 participating practices, and a questionnaire was sent to 76 patients. The questionnaire was analyzed in Excel (Microsoft). The interviews with the PHTs and text messages (short message service, SMS) sent between patients and PHTs were transcribed and independently coded in MAXQDA 10 for Windows (VERBI GmbH). Results: A total of 60 patients with COPD filled out the questionnaire, and 24 PHTs were interviewed. The mobile phone app was used 89.0% (160.2/180 days) (standard deviation [SD] 18.5) of the time by patients; 53% (13/24) of PHTs reported low or no use. Patients scored the ease of use of the app 5.09 (SD 1.14) (on a 7-point scale). They found the presentation of the PA information in the app to be clear, insightful, and stimulating. All PHTs judged the website as explicit and user-friendly but had trouble devising a new PA goal for their patients. Patients mostly sent informative, neutral messages concerning the PA goal, and PHTs sent mostly motivating, positive messages concerning the PA goal. Messages were not perceived as supportive in reaching the PA goal according to the patients. Perceived usefulness of the intervention for the PHTs was the objective measurement of PA, the ability to see PA patterns over time, and the ability to use the intervention as a tool to give their patients insight into their PA. For patients, it was that the intervention supported them in increasing their PA and that it made them feel fitter. Barriers to use of the intervention according to the PHTs were time constraints and financial reasons. Seventy-nine percent (19/24) of the PHTs and 58% (35/60) of the patients mentioned they would be interested in using the intervention in the future. Conclusions: PHTs and COPD patients had positive feelings regarding the functionality and potential of the eHealth self-management intervention. This paper addresses a number of topics that may aid in the successful development and implementation of these types of eHealth interventions in the future.

  • Electronic Social Network Assessment Program (eSNAP). Source: Pixabay; Copyright: William Iven; URL:; License: Public Domain (CC0).

    Development of the Electronic Social Network Assessment Program Using the Center for eHealth and Wellbeing Research Roadmap


    Background: The number of Web-based psychological and behavioral interventions is growing. Beyond their theoretical underpinnings, a key factor to the success of these interventions is how they are designed and developed to ensure usability over a new method of delivery. Our team has adapted ecomapping, a tool for visualizing family caregiver social network resources, for the Web. Here, we describe how we designed and developed the electronic Social Network Assessment Program (eSNAP) Web-based tool using a framework of the Center for eHealth and Wellbeing Research (CeHRes) Roadmap for Web-based intervention development. The CeHRes Roadmap is still new in terms of tool development and we showcase an example of its application. Objective: The aim of our study was to provide an example of the application of the Web-based intervention development process using the CeHRes Roadmap for other research teams to follow. In doing so, we are also sharing our pilot work to enhance eSNAP’s acceptance and usability for users and the feasibility of its implementation. Methods: We describe the development of the eSNAP app to support family caregivers of neuro-oncology patients. This development is based on the 5 iterative stages of the CeHRes Roadmap: contextual inquiry, value specification, design, operationalization, and summative evaluation. Research activities to support eSNAP development prior to implementation included literature review, focus groups, and iterative rounds of interviews. Results: Key lessons learned in developing the eSNAP app broadly fell under a theme of translating theoretical needs and ideas to the real world. This included how to prioritize needs to be addressed at one time, how the modality of delivery may change design requirements, and how to develop a tool to fit within the context it will be used. Conclusions: Using the CeHRes Roadmap to develop Web-based interventions such as eSNAP helps to address potential issues by outlining important intervention development milestones. In addition, by encouraging inclusion of users and other stakeholders in the process, Web-based intervention developers using the Roadmap can identify what will work in the real world and increase feasibility and effectiveness.

  • Home hemodialysis device. Source: Wikimedia Commons; Copyright: BillpSea; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Remote Monitoring Systems for Chronic Patients on Home Hemodialysis: Field Test of a Copresence-Enhanced Design


    Background: Patients undertaking long-term and chronic home hemodialysis (HHD) are subject to feelings of isolation and anxiety due to the absence of physical contact with their health care professionals and lack of feedback in regards to their dialysis treatments. Therefore, it is important for these patients to feel the “presence” of the health care professionals remotely while on hemodialysis at home for better compliance with the dialysis regime and to feel connected with health care professionals. Objective: This study presents an HHD system design for hemodialysis patients with features to enhance patient’s perceived “copresence” with their health care professionals. Various mechanisms to enhance this perception were designed and implemented, including digital logbooks, emotion sharing, and feedback tools. The mechanism in our HHD system aims to address the limitations associated with existing self-monitoring tools for HHD patients. Methods: A field trial involving 3 nurses and 74 patients was conducted to test the pilot implementation of the copresence design in our HHD system. Mixed method research was conducted to evaluate the system, including surveys, interviews, and analysis of system data. Results: Patients created 2757 entries of dialysis cases during the period of study. Altogether there were 492 entries submitted with “Very Happy” as the emotional status, 2167 entries with a “Happy” status, 56 entries with a “Neutral” status, 18 entries with an “Unhappy” status, and 24 entries with a “Very unhappy” status. Patients felt assured to share their emotions with health care professionals. Health care professionals were able to prioritize the review of the entries based on the emotional status and also felt assured to see patients’ change in mood. There were 989 entries sent with short notes. Entries with negative emotions had a higher percentage of supplementary notes entered compared to the entries with positive and neutral emotions. The qualitative data further showed that the HHD system was able to improve patients’ feelings of being connected with their health care professionals and thus enhance their self-care on HHD. The health care professionals felt better assured with patients’ status with the use of the system and reported improved productivity and satisfaction with the copresence enhancement mechanism. The survey on the system usability indicated a high level of satisfaction among patients and nurses. Conclusions: The copresence enhancement design complements the conventional use of a digitized HHD logbook and will further benefit the design of future telehealth systems.

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

    Usability of a Culturally Informed mHealth Intervention for Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression: Feedback From Young Sexual Minority Men


    Background: To date, we are aware of no interventions for anxiety and depression developed as mobile phone apps and tailored to young sexual minority men, a group especially at risk of anxiety and depression. We developed TODAY!, a culturally informed mobile phone intervention for young men who are attracted to men and who have clinically significant symptoms of anxiety or depression. The core of the intervention consists of daily psychoeducation informed by transdiagnostic cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and a set of tools to facilitate putting these concepts into action, with regular mood ratings that result in tailored feedback (eg, tips for current distress and visualizations of mood by context). Objective: The aim of this study was to conduct usability testing to understand how young sexual minority men interact with the app, to inform later stages of intervention development. Methods: Participants (n=9) were young sexual minority men aged 18-20 years (Mean=19.00, standard deviation [SD]=0.71; 44% black, 44% white, and 11.1% Latino), who endorsed at least mild depression and anxiety symptoms. Participants were recruited via flyers, emails to college lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) organizations, Web-based advertisements, another researcher’s database of sexual minority youth interested in research participation, and word of mouth. During recorded interviews, participants were asked to think out loud while interacting with the TODAY! app on a mobile phone or with paper prototypes. Feedback identified from these recordings and from associated field notes were subjected to thematic analysis using a general inductive approach. To aid interpretation of results, methods and results are reported according to the consolidated criteria for reporting qualitative research (COREQ). Results: Thematic analysis of usability feedback revealed a theme of general positive feedback, as well as six recurring themes that informed continued development: (1) functionality (eg, highlight new material when available), (2) personalization (eg, more tailored feedback), (3) presentation (eg, keep content brief), (4) aesthetics (eg, use brighter colors), (5) LGBT or youth content (eg, add content about coming out), and (6) barriers to use (eg, perceiving psychoeducation as homework). Conclusions: Feedback from usability testing was vital to understanding what young sexual minority men desire from a mobile phone intervention for symptoms of anxiety and depression and was used to inform the ongoing development of such an intervention.

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  • A Text Messaging-Based Intervention Targeting Alcohol Consumption among University Students: User Satisfaction and Acceptability

    Date Submitted: Dec 12, 2017

    Open Peer Review Period: Dec 12, 2017 - Dec 26, 2017

    Background: Heavy consumption of alcohol among university students has been shown to be a global problem with excessive drinking being the social norm. Students can be a difficult target group to reac...

    Background: Heavy consumption of alcohol among university students has been shown to be a global problem with excessive drinking being the social norm. Students can be a difficult target group to reach, and only a minority seek alcohol-related support. It is important to develop interventions that can reach university students in a way that does not stretch the resources of the health services further. Text-based interventions can enable continuous, real-time, cost-effective, brief support in a real-world setting, but there is a limited amount of evidence for effective interventions on alcohol consumption based on text messaging among young people. To address this, a text messaging-based alcohol consumption intervention, the Amadeus intervention, was developed. Objective: The present study was performed to explore self-reported changes in drinking habits in an intervention group and a control groups to explore user satisfaction among the intervention group and the experiences of being allocated to a control group. Methods: Students allocated to the intervention group were asked about their drinking habits and offered the opportunity to give their opinion on the structure and content of the intervention. Students in the control group were asked about their drinking habits and their experiences of being allocated to the control group. The participants received an email with an electronic link to a short questionnaire. Descriptive analyses of the distribution of the responses to the 12 questions for the intervention group and five questions for the control group were performed. Results: The response rate for the user feedback questionnaire among the intervention group was 38% (n=176) and 30% (n=129) for the control group. The variation in the content of the text messages from facts to motivational and practical advice was appreciated by 135 participants (77%) and 97 (55%) found the number of messages per week to be about right. One hundred forty-two participants (81%) stated that they had read all or nearly all the messages. Ninety-one participants (52%) stated that they were drinking less, and increased awareness regarding negative consequences was expressed as the main reason for reduced alcohol consumption. Among the participants in the control group, 52 (40%) expressed that it did not matter that they had to wait for access to the intervention. Regarding actions taken while waiting for access, 62 participants (48%) claimed that they continued to drink as before and 45 (35%) tried to reduce their consumption without any support. Conclusions: Although the main randomized controlled trial was not able to detect a statistically significant effect of the intervention, most of the participants in the present qualitative follow-up study stated that participation in the study helped them reflect upon their consumption, leading to changed drinking habits and reduced alcohol consumption. Clinical Trial: ISRCTN95054707.