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

Osch, M. van, Rövekamp, A.J.M., Bergman-Agteres, S.N., Wijsman, L.W., Ooms, S.J., Mooijaart, S.P., Vermeulen, J. User preferences and usability of iVitality: optimizing an innovative online research platform for home-based health monitoring Patient Preference and Adherence: 2015, 9, 857-867
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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.