Patient feedback in the design and development process is critical to the success of any digital self-care intervention. A team of health researchers from the University of California, Davis conducted a mixed-methods analysis to identify preferred design features that would enhance the adaptability of of mHealth interventions in promoting smoking cessation. Forty adult smokers participated through a combination of focus groups and written surveys to determine how best to communicate to smokers, provide social support, and incentivize program use.
The study demonstrated the need for a personalized and adaptive approach in delivering an mHealth intervention. Participants reported their ideal mHealth smoking cessation tool would allow personalized tracking of their progress, adaptively tailored feedback, on-demand as opposed to push notifications, and real-time peer support through closed social networks to help manage smoking cravings. Preference for reward programs and entertaining games varied by age. Communicating with experts was preferred over communicating with family and friends, and the least preferred feature was social media. Although there is no guarantee for the efficacy of mHealth interventions, catering to user needs and preferences should enhance the adoption of these programs and improve treatment outcomes.
In keeping with the design principles of patient-led mHealth interventions, Self Care Catalysts recently launched a Self-Care Design Challenge to promote and encourage their already active collaboration with patients in the design space. Through new ways of integrating patients in the process of developing solutions, Self Care Catalysts continues to deliver innovative self-care solutions that can meet a variety of business objectives while propelling patient-generated ideas forward.