Developing a mHealth Routine Outcome Monitoring and Feedback App (“SMART Track”) to Support Self-Management of Addictive Behaviours
Frontiers in Psychiatry
Background: Routine outcome monitoring (ROM) has been implemented across a range of addiction treatment services, settings and organisations. Mutual support groups are a notable exception. Innovative solutions are needed. SMART Track is a purpose built smartphone app designed to capture ROM data and provide tailored feedback to adults attending Australian SMART Recovery groups for addictive behaviour(s). Objective: Details regarding the formative stage of app development is essential, but often neglected. Improved consideration of the end-user is vital for curtailing app attrition and enhancing engagement. This paper provides a pragmatic example of how principles embedded in published frameworks can be operationalised to address these priorities during the design and development of the SMART Track app. Methods: Three published frameworks for creating digital health technologies (“Person-Based Approach,” “BIT” Model and IDEAS framework) were integrated and applied across two stages of research to inform the development, design and content of SMART Track. These frameworks were chosen to ensure that SMART Track was informed by the needs and preferences of the end-user (“Person-Based”); best practise recommendations for mHealth development (“BIT” Model) and a collaborative, iterative development process between the multi-disciplinary research team, app developers and end-users (IDEAS framework). Results: Stage one of the research process generated in-depth knowledge to inform app development, including a comprehensive set of aims (clinical, research/organisation, and usage); clear articulation of the target behaviour (self-monitoring of recovery related behaviours and experiences); relevant theory (self-determination and social control); appropriate behavioural strategies (e.g., behaviour change taxonomy and process motivators) and key factors that may influence engagement (e.g., transparency, relevance and trust). These findings were synthesised into guiding principles that were applied during stage two in an iterative approach to app design, content and development. Conclusions: This paper contributes new knowledge on important person-centred and theoretical considerations that underpin a novel ROM and feedback app for people with addictive behaviour(s). Although person-centred design and best-practise recommendations were employed, further research is needed to determine whether this leads to improved usage outcomes. Clinical Trial Registration: Pilot Trial: http://anzctr.org.au/Trial/Registration/TrialReview.aspx?id=377336.
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NSW Ministry of Health