Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension: Lessons Learned From a Case Study on the Development of an mHealth Behavior Change System
BACKGROUND: Evidence-based solutions for changing health behaviors exist but problems with feasibility, sustainability, and dissemination limit their impact on population-based behavior change and maintenance.
OBJECTIVE: Our goal was to overcome the limitations of an established behavior change program by using the inherent capabilities of smartphones and wireless sensors to develop a next generation mobile health (mHealth) intervention that has the potential to be more feasible.
METHODS: In response to the clinical need and the growing capabilities of smartphones, our study team decided to develop a behavioral hypertension reduction mHealth system inspired by Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH), a lifestyle modification program. We outline the key design and development decisions that molded the project including decisions about behavior change best practices, coaching features, platform, multimedia content, wireless devices, data security, integration of systems, rapid prototyping, usability, funding mechanisms, and how all of these issues intersect with clinical research and behavioral trials.
RESULTS: Over the 12 months, our study team faced many challenges to developing our prototype intervention. We describe 10 lessons learned that will ultimately stimulate more effective and sustainable approaches.
CONCLUSIONS: The experiences presented in this case study can be used as a reference for others developing mHealth behavioral intervention development projects by highlighting the benefits and challenges facing mHealth research.