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User preferences and usability of iVitality: optimizing an innovative online research platform for home-based health monitoring

Authors van Osch M, Rövekamp AJM, Bergman-Agteres SN, Wijsman LW, Ooms SJ, Mooijaart SP, Vermeulen J

Received 9 February 2015

Accepted for publication 4 April 2015

Published 30 June 2015 Volume 2015:9 Pages 857—867


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Johnny Chen

Mara van Osch,1 AJM Rövekamp,2 Stephanie N Bergman-Agteres,1 Liselotte W Wijsman,3,4 Sharon J Ooms,5 Simon P Mooijaart,3,4,6 Joan Vermeulen7

1Netherlands Institute for Health Services Research, Utrecht, 2Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research, 3Department of Gerontology and Geriatrics, Leiden University Medical Centre, 4Netherlands Consortium for Healthy Ageing, Leiden, 5Department of Geriatric Medicine, Radboud Alzheimer Centre, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, 6Institute for Evidence-Based Medicine in Old Age, Leiden, 7Research School, CAPHRI, Maastricht University, Maastricht, the Netherlands

Background: The iVitality online research platform has been developed to gain insight into the relationship between early risk factors (ie, poorly controlled hypertension, physical or mental inactivity) and onset and possibly prevention of dementia. iVitality consists of a website, a smartphone application, and sensors that can monitor these indicators at home. Before iVitality can be implemented, it should fit the needs and preferences of users, ie, offspring of patients with dementia. This study aimed to explore users’ motivation to participate in home-based health monitoring research, to formulate requirements based on users’ preferences to optimize iVitality, and to test usability of the smartphone application of iVitality.
Methods: We recruited 13 participants (aged 42–64 years, 85% female), who were offspring of patients with dementia. A user-centered methodology consisting of four iterative phases was used. Three semistructured interviews provided insight into motivation and acceptance of using iVitality (phase 1). A focus group with six participants elaborated on expectations and preferences regarding iVitality (phase 2). Findings from phase 1 and 2 were triangulated by two semistructured interviews (phase 3). Four participants assessed the usability of the smartphone application (phase 4) using a think aloud procedure and a questionnaire measuring ease and efficiency of use (scale 1–7; higher scores indicated better usability).
Results: All participants were highly motivated to contribute to dementia research. However, the frequency of home-based health monitoring should not be too high. Participants preferred to receive feedback about their measurements and information regarding the relationship between these measurements and dementia. Despite minor technical errors, iVitality was considered easy and efficient to use (mean score 5.50, standard deviation 1.71).
Conclusion: Offspring of patients with dementia are motivated to contribute to home-based monitoring research by using iVitality and are able to use the smartphone application. The formulated requirements will be embedded to optimize iVitality.

Keywords: e-health, m-health, technology, patient preferences, dementia, self-monitoring, usability

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