Design and Development of a Mobile Health (mHealth) Platform for Dementia Prevention in the Prevention of Dementia by Mobile Phone Applications (PRODEMOS) Project.
Background: Mobile health (mHealth) has the potential to bring preventive healthcare within reach of populations with limited access to preventive services, by delivering personalized support at low cost. Although numerous mHealth interventions are available, very few have been developed following an evidence-based rationale or have been tested for efficacy. This article describes the systematic development of a coach-supported mHealth application to improve healthy lifestyles for the prevention of dementia and cardiovascular disease in the United Kingdom (UK) and China. Methods: Development of the Prevention of Dementia by Mobile Phone applications (PRODEMOS) platform built upon the experiences with the Healthy Aging Through Internet Counseling in the Elderly (HATICE) eHealth platform. In the conceptualization phase, experiences from the HATICE trial and needs and wishes of the PRODEMOS target population were assessed through semi-structured interviews and focus group sessions. Initial technical development of the platform was based on these findings and took place in consecutive sprint sessions. Finally, during the evaluation and adaptation phase, functionality and usability of the platform were evaluated during pilot studies in UK and China. Results: The PRODEMOS mHealth platform facilitates self-management of a healthy lifestyle by goal setting, progress monitoring, and educational materials on healthy lifestyles. Participants receive remote coaching through a chat functionality. Based on lessons learned from the HATICE study and end-users, we made the intervention easy-to-use and included features to personalize the intervention. Following the pilot studies, in which in total 77 people used the mobile application for 6 weeks, the application was made more intuitive, and we improved its functionalities. Conclusion: Early involvement of end-users in the development process and during evaluation phases improved acceptability of the mHealth intervention. The actual use and usability of the PRODEMOS intervention will be assessed during the ongoing PRODEMOS randomized controlled trial, taking a dual focus on effectiveness and implementation outcomes.
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