MedFit App, a behavior-changing, theoretically informed mobile app for patient self-management of cardiovascular disease: user-centered development.
Walsh, Deirdre M. J.
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Background: The MedFit app is designed to facilitate participation of people with cardiovascular disease (CVD) in an exercise-based rehabilitation program remotely. This paper details the development for the MedFit app. Objective: The aim of this research was to develop a behavior change, theoretically informed exercise rehabilitation mobile app for adults with CVD by following the early stages of the formative research: development and feasibility testing. Methods: Adhering to the mobile health (mHealth) development evaluation framework, the stages of the formative research process including (1) development and (2) feasibility were undertaken. The content and format of the MedFit app were developed based on (1) theory, (2) usability testing, and (3) content design. Results: A systematic review of the literature was undertaken to identify the most appropriate theories from which to develop the app. This led to the creation of the MedFit app. The app went through iterative rounds of usability focus group testing with adults with CVD to provide feedback on the app. This process was framed by the unified theory of acceptance and use of technology model. Feedback was then translated into feasible technical improvements to be executed through close collaboration with the technical team, who adapted and made modifications to the app based on this codesign process. Conclusions: The formative research process of the app development involved theoretical underpinning, usability testing, and content design. mHealth interventions may play a key role in the future of health care, potentially addressing the barriers to participation in cardiac rehabilitation. This work will provide guidance for future research aiming to develop mobile apps by incorporating a best practice framework for mHealth intervention development and a user-centered design approach.
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