Design and development of a smartphone app for hypertension management: An intervention mapping approach

Elton Lobo, Chandan Karmakar, Mohamed Abdelrazek, Jemal H. Abawajy, Clara Chow, Yuxin Zhang, Ashad Kabir, Reza Daryabeygi, Ralph Maddison, Sheikh Mohammed Shariful Islam

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Background: Several research studies have demonstrated the potential of mobile health apps in supporting health management. However, the design and development process of these apps are rarely presented.

Objective: We present the design and development of a smartphone-based lifestyle app integrating a wearable device for hypertension management.

Methods: We used an intervention mapping approach for the development of theory- and evidence-based intervention in hypertension management. This consisted of six fundamental steps: needs assessment, matrices, theoretical methods and practical strategies, program design, adoption and implementation plan, and evaluation plan. To design the contents of the intervention, we performed a literature review to determine the preferences of people with hypertension (Step 1) and necessary objectives toward the promotion of self-management behaviors (Step 2). Based on these findings, we implemented theoretical and practical strategies in consultation with stakeholders and researchers (Steps 3), which was used to identify the functionality and develop an mHealth app (Step 4). The adoption (Step 5) and evaluation (Step 6) of the mHealth app will be conducted in a future study.

Results: Through the needs analysis, we identified that people with hypertension preferred having education, medication or treatment adherence, lifestyle modification, alcohol and smoking cessation and blood pressure monitoring support. We utilized MoSCoW analysis to consider four key elements, i.e., education, medication or treatment adherence, lifestyle modification and blood pressure support based on past experiences, and its potential benefits in hypertension management. Theoretical models such as (i) the information, motivation, and behavior skills model, and (ii) the patient health engagement model was implemented in the intervention development to ensure positive engagement and health behavior. Our app provides health education to people with hypertension related to their condition, while utilizing wearable devices to promote lifestyle modification and blood pressure management. The app also contains a clinician portal with rules and medication lists titrated by the clinician to ensure treatment adherence, with regular push notifications to prompt behavioral change. In addition, the app data can be reviewed by patients and clinicians as needed.

Conclusions: This is the first study describing the design and development of an app that integrates a wearable blood pressure device and provides lifestyle support and hypertension management. Our theory-driven intervention for hypertension management is founded on the critical needs of people with hypertension to ensure treatment adherence and supports medication review and titration by clinicians. The intervention will be clinically evaluated in future studies to determine its effectiveness and usability.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1092755
Number of pages15
JournalFrontiers in Public Health
Publication statusPublished - 2023


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