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Health theory in mobile technology apps supporting young people’s long-term condition/s management: a systematic review

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Abstract

Background Prevalence of long-term conditions is rising in young people. Mobile technologies featuring software program applications or ‘apps’ are well used by young people for social networking and gaming. Apps are being increasingly utilized in health contexts. This systematic review’s objective was to assess the effectiveness of smartphone and tablet apps in supporting young people’s management of their physical long-term condition/s. Methods The search strategy combined indexed and free-text terms. Two reviewers independently searched hits generated from five bibliographical databases and identified articles meeting the inclusion criteria. Data extraction and quality assessment tools facilitated consistent analysis and synthesis. Inter-rater-reliability was assessed. Findings The search returned 1120 hits; four articles were included (one pilot randomized-controlled-trial and three quasi-experimental studies) with a combined sample size of 46. Apps were aimed at diabetes (n=2), asthma and cancer management. Further heterogeneity e.g. outcome measures and follow-up times prevented meta-analysis. Health psychology models were notable by their absence, with only one app reporting theoretical underpinning. Discussion The disparity between the volume of health apps available and the sub-set based on empirical evidence is of concern.
... The dearth of existing evidence prevented us from commenting on the effectiveness of mobile apps designed to support adolescents' management of their physical conditions, as had been the objective at the outset. This in itself was an important finding and generated stimulating discussion around what the next step should be, from a multi-professional expert audience at an international conference where preliminary findings from this review were reported [85]. A clear recommendation from this work is the need for high-quality RCTs in this field. ...
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Background: The prevalence of physical chronic or long-term conditions in adolescents aged 10-24 years is rising. Mobile phone and tablet mobile technologies featuring software program apps are widely used by these adolescents and their healthy peers for social networking or gaming. Apps are also used in health care to support personal condition management and they have considerable potential in this context. There is a growing body of literature on app use in health contexts, thereby making a systematic review of their effectiveness very timely. Objective: To systematically review the literature on the effectiveness of mobile apps designed to support adolescents’ management of their physical chronic or long-term conditions. Methods: We conducted a review of the English-language literature published since 2003 in five relevant bibliographical databases using key search terms. Two independent reviewers screened titles and abstracts using data extraction and quality assessment tools. Results: The search returned 1120 hits. Of the 19 eligible full-text papers, four met our review criteria, reporting one pilot randomized controlled trial and three pretest/post-test studies. Samples ranged from 4 to 18 participants, with a combined sample of 46 participants. The apps reported were targeted at type 1 diabetes, asthma, and cancer. Two papers provided data for calculating effect size. Heterogeneity in terms of study design, reported outcomes, follow-up times, participants’ ages, and health conditions prevented meta-analyses. There was variation in whether adolescents received guidance in using the app or were solely responsible for navigating the app. Three studies reported some level of patient involvement in app design, development, and/or evaluation. Health professional involvement in the modelling stages of apps was reported in all studies, although it was not always clear whether specific clinical (as opposed to academic) expertise in working with adolescents was represented. The dearth of studies and the small overall sample size emphasizes the need for future studies of the development, evaluation, use, and effectiveness of mobile apps to support adolescents’ personal management of their conditions. Conclusions: A key finding of the review is the paucity of evidence-based apps that exist, in contrast to the thousands of apps available on the app market that are not evidence-based or user or professional informed. Although we aimed to assess the effectiveness of apps, the dearth of studies meeting our criteria meant that we were unable to be conclusive in this regard. Based on the available evidence, apps may be considered feasible health interventions, but more studies involving larger sample sizes, and with patient and health professional input at all stages, are needed to determine apps’ acceptability and effectiveness. This review provides valuable findings and paves the way for future rigorous development and evaluation of health apps for adolescents with chronic or long-term conditions.
... The dearth of existing evidence prevented us from commenting on the effectiveness of mobile apps designed to support adolescents' management of their physical conditions, as had been the objective at the outset. This in itself was an important finding and generated stimulating discussion around what the next step should be, from a multi-professional expert audience at an international conference where preliminary findings from this review were reported [85]. A clear recommendation from this work is the need for high-quality RCTs in this field. ...
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Background: The prevalence of long-term or chronic conditions that limit activity and reduce quality of life in young people aged 10-24 years is rising. This group has distinct health care needs and requires tailored support strategies to facilitate increasing personal responsibility for the management of their condition wherever possible, as they mature. Mobile phone and tablet mobile technologies featuring software program apps are already well used by young people for social networking or gaming. They have also been utilized in health care to support personal condition management, using condition-specific and patient-tailored software. Such apps have much potential, and there is an emerging body of literature on their use in a health context making this review timely. Objective: The objective of this paper is to develop a systematic review protocol focused on identifying and assessing the effectiveness of mobile phone and tablet apps that support young people's management of their chronic conditions. Methods: The search strategy will include a combination of standardized indexed search terms and free-text terms related to the key concepts of young people; long-term conditions and mobile technology. Peer-reviewed journal articles published from 2003 that meet the inclusion and exclusion criteria will be identified through searching the generated hits from 5 bibliographical databases. Two independent reviewers will screen the titles and abstracts to determine which articles focus on testing interventions identified as a mobile phone or tablet apps, and that have been designed and delivered to support the management of long-term conditions in young people aged 10-24 years. Data extraction and quality assessment tools will be used to facilitate consistent analysis and synthesis. It is anticipated that several studies will meet the selection criteria but that these are likely to be heterogeneous in terms of study design, reported outcomes, follow-up times, participants' age, and health condition. Subgroup analyses will be undertaken and where possible meta-analyses will take place. Results: This review will synthesize available knowledge surrounding tablet and mobile phone apps that support management of long term physical health conditions in young people. The findings will be synthesized to determine which elements of the technologies were most effective for this population. Conclusions: This systematic review aims to synthesize existing literature in order to generate findings that will facilitate the development of an app intervention. The review will form the first phase of development and evaluation of a complex intervention JMIR Res Protoc 2015 | vol. 4 | iss. 2 | e40 | p.1 http://www.researchprotocols.org/2015/2/e40/ (page number not for citation purposes) Majeed-Ariss et al JMIR RESEARCH PROTOCOLS XSL • FO RenderX as recommended by the United Kingdom Medical Research Council. The knowledge gained from the review will be verified in subsequent phases, which will include primary qualitative work with health professionals and young people with long term conditions as research participants. Young people living with long-term conditions will be involved as co-researchers and consumer advisors in all subsequent phases to develop and evaluate an app to support the management of long-term physical health conditions. Trial Registration: PROSPERO International prospective register of systematic reviews: CRD42014015418; http://www.crd.york.ac.uk/PROSPERO/display_record.asp?ID=CRD42014015418#.VRqCpTpnL8E
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Background: The prevalence of long-term or chronic conditions that limit activity and reduce quality of life in young people aged 10-24 years is rising. This group has distinct health care needs and requires tailored support strategies to facilitate increasing personal responsibility for the management of their condition wherever possible, as they mature. Mobile phone and tablet mobile technologies featuring software program apps are already well used by young people for social networking or gaming. They have also been utilized in health care to support personal condition management, using condition-specific and patient-tailored software. Such apps have much potential, and there is an emerging body of literature on their use in a health context making this review timely. Objective: The objective of this paper is to develop a systematic review protocol focused on identifying and assessing the effectiveness of mobile phone and tablet apps that support young people's management of their chronic conditions. Methods: The search strategy will include a combination of standardized indexed search terms and free-text terms related to the key concepts of young people; long-term conditions and mobile technology. Peer-reviewed journal articles published from 2003 that meet the inclusion and exclusion criteria will be identified through searching the generated hits from 5 bibliographical databases. Two independent reviewers will screen the titles and abstracts to determine which articles focus on testing interventions identified as a mobile phone or tablet apps, and that have been designed and delivered to support the management of long-term conditions in young people aged 10-24 years. Data extraction and quality assessment tools will be used to facilitate consistent analysis and synthesis. It is anticipated that several studies will meet the selection criteria but that these are likely to be heterogeneous in terms of study design, reported outcomes, follow-up times, participants' age, and health condition. Subgroup analyses will be undertaken and where possible meta-analyses will take place. Results: This review will synthesize available knowledge surrounding tablet and mobile phone apps that support management of long term physical health conditions in young people. The findings will be synthesized to determine which elements of the technologies were most effective for this population. Conclusions: This systematic review aims to synthesize existing literature in order to generate findings that will facilitate the development of an app intervention. The review will form the first phase of development and evaluation of a complex intervention JMIR Res Protoc 2015 | vol. 4 | iss. 2 | e40 | p.1 http://www.researchprotocols.org/2015/2/e40/ (page number not for citation purposes) Majeed-Ariss et al JMIR RESEARCH PROTOCOLS XSL • FO RenderX as recommended by the United Kingdom Medical Research Council. The knowledge gained from the review will be verified in subsequent phases, which will include primary qualitative work with health professionals and young people with long term conditions as research participants. Young people living with long-term conditions will be involved as co-researchers and consumer advisors in all subsequent phases to develop and evaluate an app to support the management of long-term physical health conditions. Trial Registration: PROSPERO International prospective register of systematic reviews: CRD42014015418; http://www.crd.york.ac.uk/PROSPERO/display_record.asp?ID=CRD42014015418#.VRqCpTpnL8E
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To assess whether problematic internet use is associated with somatic complaints and whether this association remains when checking for internet activity among a random sample of adolescents living in the canton of Vaud, Switzerland. Cross-sectional survey of 3,067 8th graders (50.3% females) divided into average (n = 2,708) and problematic (n = 359) Internet users and compared for somatic complaints (backache, overweight, headaches, musculoskeletal pain, sleep problems and sight problems) controlling for sociodemographic and internet-related variables. Logistic regressions were performed for each complaint and for all of them simultaneously controlling variables significant at the bivariate level. At the multivariate level, when taken separately, problematic internet users were more likely to have a chronic condition (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] with 95% CI: 1.58 [1.11:2.23]) and to report back pain (aOR: 1.46 [1.04:2.05]), overweight (aOR: 1.74 [1.03:2.93]), musculoskeletal pain (aOR: 1.36 [1.00:1.84]) and sleep problems (aOR: 2.16 [1.62:2.88]). When considered in the full model, only sleep problems remained significant (aOR: 2.03 [1.50:2.74]). Our results confirm that problematic internet users report health problems more frequently, with lack of sleep being the most strongly associated and seeming to act as mediator regarding the other ones. Clinicians should remember to screen for excessive internet use their patients complaining of sleep-related problems, back or musculoskeletal pain or overweight. Clinicians should advise parents to limit the amount of time their adolescent children can spend online for leisure activities. Furthermore, limiting the number of devices used to connect to the internet could help warrant enough sleeping time.
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Introduction: Long-term health management is challenging for the rapidly growing number of patients with chronic diseases. Smartphone interventions offer promising solutions. This article presents features of smartphone interventions for long-term chronic condition management, illustrating how these applications benefit patients with chronic diseases. Materials and methods: Systematic searches for smartphone health interventions were conducted in five publication databases. Articles were included only if (1) the smartphone application (app) was exclusively developed for patients with chronic diseases and (2) the article incorporated a defined outcome measurement to evaluate the effects of the implemented intervention. Sixteen articles were included in the final review, including studies in diabetes, mental health problems, overweight, cancer, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Results: These studies found that the smartphone intervention was a completely or at least partially effective tool to assist in managing some chronic diseases. With the help of health-related smartphone apps, patients with chronic conditions (1) felt secure in the knowledge that their illnesses were closely monitored, (2) participated in their own health management more effectively, and (3) felt that they had not been forgotten by their doctors and were taken good care of even outside the hospital/clinic. Conclusions: However, there are limited smartphone apps for the long-term health management of chronic diseases. More smartphone apps need to be developed to help people manage chronic diseases.
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