Mobile Apps & Behaviour Change for Connected Health Seminar

Time: 14:00 - 16:00

Venue: Lecture Theatre 1.5, Kilburn Building, The University of Manchester

Manchester Informatics are pleased to announce that this years first Connected Health Seminar will take place in September 2016. As the University's digital research institute we aim to bring together those with an interest in Connected Health from across the faculties to showcase some of the varied research taking place in this area. 

This seminar will be an opportunity to hear from three leading researchers from the Alliance Manchester Business School (AMBS) & the Health eResearch Centre (HeRC) who will presenting their work on mobile apps and behaviour change for Connected Health.

Dr Marzena Nieroda (Lecturer in Marketing at AMBS) - How do we transform ‘an app for that’ into ‘an app for me’? Design and promotion of health management technologies 

Self-regulation researchers have been trying to evaluate the most effective ways to help individuals gain control over (un)healthy behaviours, remove barriers and temptations hindering healthy behaviours and increase motivation towards holistic health and wellbeing. One way to do it is by making sure that supportive technology that people use for their health and wellbeing (e.g. activity tracking or dieting mobile apps) fits with individual needs, e.g. for goal pursuit. This approach is against ‘one size fits all’ tactics, often practised by healthcare and public health organisations. A team of researchers from AMBS explore characteristics of various mobile applications for health and wellbeing management in an effort to understand whether: 1) different mobile apps for wellbeing management are indeed perceived as more/less suitable for different individuals (differentiation not based on health condition); 2) health promotion efforts encouraging congruence between individual needs and an app can affect individual motivation to be healthy; 3) it is possible to uncover app differentiation attributes and use this information in an app design/development.

Marzena will present results of a series of studies undertaken in the USA and the UK addressing the above questions in the context of health behaviours in general, and in relation to the more specific task of weight management.

Kiera Bartlett (Research Associate in Division of Psychology & Mental Health) - Using health psychology theories and techniques in mobile apps for health and wellbeing

Many commercially available apps aim to change our behaviour and make us fitter, healthier and happier, however the majority do not make use of evidence based theories and techniques of behaviour change. There are many opportunities to draw on health psychology research to develop health and wellbeing apps, however it can be challenging to ensure apps are theory-based, easy to use and acceptable to the target population. Examples across different health domains will be used to present different approaches taken to address these challenges. 

Dr Pauline Whelan (mHealth Applications Manager at HeRC) - CFHealth Hub

The mHealth team at the Health eResearch Centre (HeRC), University of Manchester, develops digital solutions to improve the lives of people with a range of chronic conditions. Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is a chronic respiratory disease that affects approximately 10,000 people in the UK. Medications and physiotherapy are required to keep people with CF healthy but adherence to treatment is typically poor. CFHealthHub* is a digital platform and complex behaviour change intervention that has been designed to improve adherence to treatment in people with CF. CFHealthHub combines data passively captured from the nebulisers of people with CF with prescription information to generate visualisations of medication adherence. The views of medication adherence are made available to people with CF and their clinicians, providing real-time objective visibility around adherence patterns that has not previously been available. Theories of behaviour change are integrated into the CFHealthHub website and mobile apps to encourage self-management. In this talk, Pauline will describe the technical evolution of CFHealthHub during an intensive coproduction phase with people with CF. She will highlight some of the key usability and functional requirements that emerged during this coproduction phase and  discuss the technical architectural and methodological challenges of designing the CFHealthHub system, from a connected health perspective. Pauline will relate the specific technical challenges raised by the CFHealthHub project to more general digital challenges seen across a range of e- and m-Health projects developed at HeRC.

* CFHealthHub has been developed as part of an NIHR-funded Applied Research Programme Grant (Grant Reference Number RP-PG-1212-20015) jointly led by Sheffield Teaching Hospitals and the University of Sheffield (see here).