Health Apps by Design: A Reference Architecture for Mobile Engagement

Health Apps by Design: A Reference Architecture for Mobile Engagement

Pannel Chindalo (InfoClin, Toronto, Canada), Arsalan Karim (InfoClin, Toronto, Canada), Ronak Brahmbhatt (InfoClin, Toronto, Canada), Nishita Saha (InfoClin, Toronto, Canada) and Karim Keshavjee (InfoClin, Toronto, Canada)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 10
DOI: 10.4018/IJHCR.2016040103
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Abstract

The mobile health (mhealth) app market continues to grow rapidly. However, with the exception of fitness apps and a few isolated cases, most mhealth apps have not gained traction. The barriers preventing patients and care providers from using these apps include: for patients, information that contradicts health care provider advice, manual data entry procedures and poor fit with their treatment plan; for providers, distrust in unknown apps, lack of congruence with workflow, inability to integrate app data into their medical record system and challenges to analyze and visualize information effectively. In this article, the authors build upon previous work to define design requirements for quality mhealth apps and a framework for patient engagement to propose a new reference architecture for the next generation of healthcare mobile apps that increase the likelihood of being useful for and used by patients and health care providers alike.
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Methods

We conducted a literature search in PubMed and Google Scholar to identify articles that described methods to evaluate mobile apps. We utilized the related articles feature to find additional articles. We also identified articles on mhealth architecture and patient engagement with apps. We conducted a narrative synthesis of the studies we identified and applied a critical analysis by way of identifying common hurdles that restrict wide usage of mhealth apps. Our process of deliberation comprised distributing the studies we identified as critical to the research topic. We had three workings sessions: one concept development meeting which led to designating responsibilities for drafting the study’s sections; a rethinking and refinement session and a final interdisciplinary discussion to finalize the story arc of the study. We also utilized Google Drive file sharing to coordinate our communication.

We used a gap analysis that drew on philosophy, data science, education, life science and business analyses methods to develop a concept that would overcome the constraints and meet the goals identified in the introduction. Through analysis, discussion and iteration, we arrived at a proposed architecture that is evidence-informed, uses validated tools effectively and is situated in a philosophy that puts a high value on the patient-physician relationship.

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