Perceptions of factors Influencing engagement with health and well-being apps in the United Kingdom: Qualitative interview study

Szinay, Dorothy, Perski, Olga, Jones, Andy, Chadborn, Tim, Brown, Jamie and Naughton, Felix (2021) Perceptions of factors Influencing engagement with health and well-being apps in the United Kingdom: Qualitative interview study. JMIR mHealth and uHealth, 9 (12). ISSN 2291-5222

[img]
Preview
PDF (Accepted_Manuscript) - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (412kB) | Preview
[img]
Preview
PDF (Published_Version) - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (240kB) | Preview

Abstract

Background: Digital health devices, such as health and well-being smartphone apps, could offer an accessible and cost-effective way to deliver health and well-being interventions. A key component of the effectiveness of health and well-being apps is user engagement. However, engagement with health and well-being apps is typically poor. Previous studies have identified a list of factors that could influence engagement; however, most of these studies were conducted on a particular population or for an app targeting a particular behavior. An understanding of the factors that influence engagement with a wide range of health and well-being apps can inform the design and the development of more engaging apps in general. Objective: The aim of this study is to explore user experiences of and reasons for engaging and not engaging with a wide range of health and well-being apps. Methods: A sample of adults in the United Kingdom (N=17) interested in using a health or well-being app participated in a semistructured interview to explore experiences of engaging and not engaging with these apps. Participants were recruited via social media platforms. Data were analyzed with the framework approach, informed by the Capability, Opportunity, Motivation-Behaviour (COM-B) model and the Theoretical Domains Framework, which are 2 widely used frameworks that incorporate a comprehensive set of behavioral influences. Results: Factors that influence the capability of participants included available user guidance, statistical and health information, reduced cognitive load, well-designed reminders, self-monitoring features, features that help establish a routine, features that offer a safety net, and stepping-stone app characteristics. Tailoring, peer support, and embedded professional support were identified as important factors that enhance user opportunities for engagement with health and well-being apps. Feedback, rewards, encouragement, goal setting, action planning, self-confidence, and commitment were judged to be the motivation factors that affect engagement with health and well-being apps. Conclusions: Multiple factors were identified across all components of the COM-B model that may be valuable for the development of more engaging health and well-being apps. Engagement appears to be influenced primarily by features that provide user guidance, promote minimal cognitive load, support self-monitoring (capability), provide embedded social support (opportunity), and provide goal setting with action planning (motivation). This research provides recommendations for policy makers, industry, health care providers, and app developers for increasing effective engagement.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding Information: The authors thank all participants for their contribution to the study. The authors would like to acknowledge the support for the development of a topic guide received from the patient and public representatives (the Deputy Director of Public Health England [PHE] Digital, PHE Strategy and Planning, and PHE Strategy and Innovation lead). The authors are grateful to the University College London Tobacco and Alcohol Research Group for their expert opinions on data analysis. Funding Information: JB has received unrestricted research funding to study smoking cessation from pharmaceutical companies that manufacture smoking cessation medications. JB, FN, OP, and DS are unpaid members of the scientific committee for the Smoke Free app and have no financial interest in the app. DS is funded through a PhD studentship, provided jointly by Public Health England and the University of East Anglia. OP receives salary support from the Cancer Research UK (C1417/A22962). Publisher Copyright: © Dorothy Szinay, Olga Perski, Andy Jones, Tim Chadborn, Jamie Brown, Felix Naughton. Originally published in JMIR mHealth and uHealth (https://mhealth.jmir.org), 16.12.2021. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work, first published in JMIR mHealth and uHealth, is properly cited. The complete bibliographic information, a link to the original publication on https://mhealth.jmir.org/, as well as this copyright and license information must be included.
Uncontrolled Keywords: behavior change,com-b,engagement,framework analysis,health apps,mhealth,mobile phone,motivation,smartphone app,tdf,usability,user engagement,health informatics ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/2700/2718
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Health Sciences
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Norwich Medical School
Related URLs:
Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 13 Nov 2021 01:51
Last Modified: 23 Jun 2022 00:22
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/82090
DOI: 10.2196/29098

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item