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Co-Design, Development, and Evaluation of a Mobile Solution to Improve Medication Adherence in Cancer: Design Science Research Approach

JMIR Cancer. 2024 Apr 3;10:e46979. doi: 10.2196/46979.


BACKGROUND: Medication nonadherence negatively impacts the health outcomes of people with cancer as well as health care costs. Digital technologies present opportunities to address this health issue. However, there is limited evidence on how to develop digital interventions that meet the needs of people with cancer, are perceived as useful, and are potentially effective in improving medication adherence.

OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to co-design, develop, and preliminarily evaluate an innovative mobile health solution called Safety and Adherence to Medication and Self-Care Advice in Oncology (SAMSON) to improve medication adherence among people with cancer.

METHODS: Using the 4 cycles and 6 processes of design science research methodology, we co-designed and developed a medication adherence solution for people with cancer. First, we conducted a literature review on medication adherence in cancer and a systematic review of current interventions to address this issue. Behavioral science research was used to conceptualize the design features of SAMSON. Second, we conducted 2 design phases: prototype design and final feature design. Last, we conducted a mixed methods study on patients with hematological cancer over 6 weeks to evaluate the mobile solution.

RESULTS: The developed mobile solution, consisting of a mobile app, a web portal, and a cloud-based database, includes 5 modules: medication reminder and acknowledgment, symptom assessment and management, reinforcement, patient profile, and reporting. The quantitative study (n=30) showed that SAMSON was easy to use (21/27, 78%). The app was engaging (18/27, 67%), informative, increased user interactions, and well organized (19/27, 70%). Most of the participants (21/27, 78%) commented that SAMSON’s activities could help to improve their adherence to cancer treatments, and more than half of them (17/27, 63%) would recommend the app to their peers. The qualitative study (n=25) revealed that SAMSON was perceived as helpful in terms of reminding, supporting, and informing patients. Possible barriers to using SAMSON include the app glitches and users’ technical inexperience. Further needs to refine the solution were also identified. Technical improvements and design enhancements will be incorporated into the subsequent iteration.

CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates the successful application of behavioral science research and design science research methodology to design and develop a mobile solution for patients with cancer to be more adherent. The study also highlights the importance of applying rigorous methodologies in developing effective and patient-centered digital intervention solutions.

PMID:38569178 | DOI:10.2196/46979

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