User engagement is essential for the success of eHealth apps, yet effective engagement remains a persistent challenge. A new approach to addressing this problem has been proposed in November 2022 in a viewpoint published by JMIR Publications in the Interactive Journal of Medical Internet Research. In their publication titled “A New Approach to Enhancing Engagement in eHealth Apps,” Dr Oakley-Girvan and Dr Docherty from Medable Inc. propose a three-phase conceptual model to optimize user (patient) engagement with eHealth apps and comment on how the knowledge gleaned from psychosocial, behavioral, and cognitive science can be incorporated into this model to enhance user engagement.
According to the researchers, sustained user engagement is a complex process that requires attention, commitment, and involvement. The model is structured around three phases of the engagement process: (1) initiation; (2) strengthening; and (3) maintenance, incorporating knowledge from psychosocial, behavioral, and cognitive science, to guide the design and selection of interventions.
Video interview with Dr Oakley-Girvan and Dr Docherty about this research – https://youtu.be/8_zR2dBpmFc
These researchers have identified key components of initiation, such as design of the app’s user experience, decision and intent to participate, technical competence, digital anxiety, and health literacy. For further strengthening engagement, they have identified two well-studied processes: therapeutic alliance and behavioral conditioning to convert controlled processes that require conscious thought to automatic processes.
By taking a coherent, theory-based approach, the team hopes to enhance the process, depth, and consistency of patient engagement with eHealth apps. They believe that utilizing a theoretical design framework in digital intervention planning will cultivate and maintain user engagement and motivation to adhere to the intervention throughout its intended duration.
In summary, their approach draws upon established bodies of psychosocial, behavioral, and cognitive science to enhance the effectiveness of eHealth apps. By doing so, it will lead to improved retention, data quality, and clinical impact.
Read the full article here:
Oakley-Girvan I, Docherty JP
A New Approach to Enhancing Engagement in eHealth Apps
Interact J Med Res 2022;11(2):e38886
Full text: https://www.i-jmr.org/2022/2/e38886/
Corresponding author: Ingrid Oakley-Girvan, MPH, PhD
Research, Value and Strategy Medable Inc 525 University Ave Suite A70 Palo Alto, CA US
Phone: 1 877-820-6259
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