mHealth Impact refers to the efficient realization and pilot testing of prototypes for technology-based programs for health promotion and disease prevention that can be tested in larger trials and primed for scalability and dissemination.
Technology has revolutionized opportunities in the delivery of health promotion and care to unprecedented numbers in diverse environments and settings. Research has revealed substantial promise in using digital tools for health promotion. Meta-analysis of such programs indicate their efficacy for facilitating improvements in knowledge and behavior change, and have also demonstrated that computer and Intern-based interventions for sexual health education are effective. However, lack of compelling evidence of efficacy for impacting health outcomes through multiple clinical trials, replication studies have been scaled to realize their potential for impact.
There has been a convergence of attention across federal agencies focused on the need for translation research that can widely disseminate effective, simple to adopt and maintain health interventions. We have opportunities to achieve this, e.g. by generating support for healthy behaviors within online social network; extending clinical care in remote settings and via 24-7 triage and by tailoring information on self-care through automated systems on multiple primary determinants of health.
The mHealth Impact Laboratory is an incubator for innovative, eHealth promotion and disease management initiatives.
This figure illustrates the four stage process to rapidly generate compelling eHealth prototypes:
A Concept Phase (1 month), involving initial idea generation, i.e. how one might use an emerging technology in health promotion or care delivery, informed by current peer-reviewed and grey literature, including industry data on consumer preferences, and understanding of organizational capacity to adopt and implement technology and environmental setting capacity to support and sustain technology.
A Model Development Phase (1 month), involving an iterative process to program initial working eHealth interventions involving organizational stakeholders and end users in online settings to identify salient, engaging and feasible design features.
A Phase for Usability and Navigability Testing (2 months), where a group of end users (i.e. those for whom the program is intended) tests the product in person and/or online to make sure it works as intended and organizational stakeholders consider how to integrate it into their systems.
A Pilot Testing Phase (3-4 months), where users participate in online and pre and post evaluation, and participate in a pilot of the eHealth promotion or disease prevention program; pilot tests occur within systems to assess potential for widespread dissemination and impact.
The mHealth Impact approach allows for generation of pilot test data on programs within seven to eight months rather than the traditional two-three year time frame of an R03 or R21 award