Direct to Consumer Strategies

Facilitated Roundtable Discussion

DTC-08 - A User-centered Approach for Developing a Type 1 Diabetes App for Adolescents and Their Parents

Monday, April 30
9:40 AM - 10:05 AM
Location: Education Zone, Booth 2416, Zone 1

Type 1 diabetes (T1D) impacts approximately 1.25 million Americans, many of them children. Diabetes management is extremely complex, as a result, approximately 75% of adolescents and teens going through the transition to self-management (from parent management) do not have adequate control of their blood sugars.

Mobile health (mHealth)-the use of mobile phones/tablets to help improve health-is a way to improve health outcomes in many different conditions, including T1D. Mobile technology is almost ubiquitous today in the USA. Nearly 75% of teens and 76% of parents have access to a smartphone.

The objective of this study was design, develop, and conduct a pilot test of a mobile app for adolescents with T1D and their parents to aid in this transition using a user-centered design.

The development process consisted of four key stages: 1) inductive focus groups and interviews with teens with T1D, parents of children with T1D, and certified diabetes educators; 2) development of a wire-frame and gaining feedback from users; 3) app development; and 4) app prototype testing.

Stage 1 - This qualitative study included 12 teens, 9 parents, and 5 pediatric diabetes educators who participated in a focus group or interview. Four themes emerged: 1) family communication characteristics, 2) denial, 3) provider communication characteristics, and 4) transition facilitators. Using this feedback, we worked with app developers to create a wire frame of the app.
Stage 2 -We presented the wireframe to two separate focus groups. The focus groups were conducted with 5 adolescents ages 10-13 and separately with 7 parents. Our app concept was well-received and participants thought it would help aid in the transition to adolescent self-management. Their feedback was used to refine the app in preparation of final development.
Stage 3 - Feedback from the focus groups was compiled to drive app development. Full design and development of the app took 10 months.

Stage 4 - We recruited 15 parent/teen groups to use the MyT1DHero app for four weeks. At posttest they asked questions regarding satisfaction and ease of use of the app. They also participated in short phone interviews regarding their experience using the app. Additionally, we used server data to examine actual app usage.

Ten family dyads completed the study. Three main themes emerged, 1) app crashing issues, 2) problems with notifications; and 3) positive feedback. These results were used to refine the app for future testing. The survey results indicated that all the participants were satisfied with the app and thought that it was easy to use.

Through this user-centered process we were able to correct the technical issues and add requested user features. Smartphone applications have the potential to be a novel intervention for engaging teens and their parents in positive communication to support T1D management and the transition to teen self-care.

Learning Objectives:

Bree Holtz

Assistant Professor
Michigan State University

Dr. Holtz’s broad research interest centers around understanding the adoption of information communication technologies and its impact on health care access and delivery. Her prior research has examined the use of mobile phones in asthma and diabetes management, online health literacy, adoption and utilization of telemedicine technologies in a health setting, and using innovative telecommunications technologies to improve access to health care. Her current research interests include understanding the implementation and utilization of mHealth technologies while improving patient centered care.

Holtz received her master’s degree from the London School of Economics, her PhD from Michigan State University, and completed a post-doc at the Center for Clinical Management Research, Ann Arbor VA Healthcare System. She has published work in communication, technology, and medical journals. Dr. Holtz’s research is funded by the American Diabetes Association.


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DTC-08 - A User-centered Approach for Developing a Type 1 Diabetes App for Adolescents and Their Parents

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