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Behavior Change App for Self-management of Gestational Diabetes: Design and Evaluation of Desirable Features

HumanInsight Behavior Change App for Self-management of Gestational Diabetes: Design and Evaluation of Desirable Features

JMIR Hum Factors. 2022 Oct 12;9(4):e36987. doi: 10.2196/36987.


BACKGROUND: Gestational diabetes (GDM) has considerable and increasing health effects as it raises both the mother's and the offspring's risk for short- and long-term health problems. GDM can usually be treated with a healthier lifestyle, such as appropriate dietary modifications and sufficient physical activity. Although telemedicine interventions providing weekly or more frequent feedback from health care professionals have shown the potential to improve glycemic control among women with GDM, apps without extensive input from health care professionals are limited and have not been shown to be effective. Different features in personalization and support have been proposed to increase the efficacy of GDM apps, but the knowledge of how these features should be designed is lacking.

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study is to investigate how GDM apps should be designed, considering the desirable features based on the previous literature.

METHODS: We designed an interactive GDM prototype app that provided example implementations of desirable features, such as providing automatic and personalized suggestions and social support through the app. Women with GDM explored the prototype and provided feedback in semistructured interviews.

RESULTS: We identified that (1) self-tracking data in GDM apps should be extended with written feedback, (2) habits and goals should be highly customizable to be useful, (3) the app should have different functions to provide social support, and (4) health care professionals should be notified through the app if something unusual occurs. In addition, we found 2 additional themes. First, basic functionalities that are fast to learn by women with GDM who have recently received the diagnosis should be provided, but there should also be deeper features to maintain interest for women with GDM at a later stage of pregnancy. Second, as women with GDM may have feelings of guilt, the app should have a tolerance for and a supporting approach to unfavorable behavior.

CONCLUSIONS: The feedback on the GDM prototype app supported the need for desirable features and provided new insights into how these features should be incorporated into GDM apps. We expect that following the proposed designs and feedback will increase the efficacy of GDM self-management apps.


PMID:36222806 | DOI:10.2196/36987

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