Monday, 24 April 2017
New paper published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR)
CATCH's Thomas Webb and Mark Hawley have published a new paper in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR) along with Kiera Bartlett (the first author, who was Mark and Tom's PhD student, now in Manchester).
The paper is entitled 'Using Persuasive Technology to Increase Physical Activity in People With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease by Encouraging Regular Walking: A Mixed-Methods Study Exploring Opinions and Preferences' and describes research involving over 100 people with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), which aimed to find out whether different designs for apps on a smart phone might encourage them to increase their level of physical activity, and which persuasive features should be designed into the apps.
The three designs tested were a 'virtual coach' who gave encouragement to users; a 'music and maps' app, with similarities to many of the running apps available on smartphones; and an 'online community' app, that allowed users to communicate with other users online and compete to win virtual rewards. Overall, the 'virtual coach' app design was deemed to be the most likely to be used and recommended, and it was also thought to be the most persuasive.
This research will be useful to future app designers and health service providers who aim to design or provide apps to encourage people to change their health-related behaviours, such as increasing their level of physical activity.
The paper can be accessed freely at http://www.jmir.org/2017/4/
The research was funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and supported by NIHR CLAHRC for Yorkshire and Humber.
Researchers in CATCH and CLAHRC have incorporated these design principles into an app which is being trialled in South Yorkshire by people with COPD undergoing, and following, pulmonary rehabilitation.
More information can be found on http://www.catch.org.uk/