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Promoting Collaborative Goal Setting for Cancer Prevention Among Primary Care Patients Through mHealth: Mixed Methods Evaluation of a New App.

Resnick D, Schapira MM, Smith JM, Bautista A, Xu C, Jones L, Aysola J. Promoting Collaborative Goal Setting for Cancer Prevention Among Primary Care Patients Through mHealth: Mixed Methods Evaluation of a New App. JMIR formative research. 2021 Jul 14; 5(7):e22510.

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BACKGROUND: Many newly diagnosed cancers are associated with modifiable lifestyle behaviors, such as diet, exercise, smoking cessation, and maintaining a healthy weight. However, primary care providers rarely discuss cancer prevention behaviors with their patients. OBJECTIVE: This study aims to assess the usability, acceptability, and user engagement of the Healthier Together mobile app, which is designed to promote cancer prevention behaviors among non-Hispanic Black primary care patients, by using social networks and goal-setting theories of behavior change. METHODS: In an 8-week pilot study, we enrolled primary care patients (N = 41) and provided them with a cancer prevention mobile app that allowed them to select, track, and share progress on cancer prevention goals with other users. App usability was assessed using the System Usability Scale. We assessed the app''s acceptability by qualitatively analyzing open-ended responses regarding participants'' overall experience with the app. We assessed participants'' engagement by analyzing the built-in data capture device, which included the number of times participants checked in (out of a maximum of 8) during the study. RESULTS: The mean age of the 41 participants was 51 years (SD 12), and 76% (31/41) were women. App use data were captured from all participants, and 83% (34/41) completed the exit survey and interview. The mean System Usability Scale score was 87 (SD 12; median 90; IQR 78-95). The analysis of open-ended responses revealed several key themes, and participants complemented the app''s ease of use and health behavior-promoting features while also commenting on the need for more feedback and social interactions through the app. On average, participants checked in 5.7 times (SD 2.7) out of 8 possible opportunities. Of the 41 participants, 76% (31/41) checked in during at least 4 of the 8 weeks. Secondary analyses revealed that participants often accomplished their set goals (mean 5.1, SD 2.7) for each week. The qualitative analysis of comments given by participants within the app after each weekly check-in revealed several themes on how the app assisted participants in behavioral change, highlighting that some participants created exercise programs, ate healthier foods, lost a significant amount of weight, and stopped smoking during this study. CONCLUSIONS: The implementation of a mobile cancer prevention goal-setting app in a primary care setting was feasible, and the app achieved high usability, acceptability, and engagement among participants. User feedback revealed an influence on health behaviors. These findings suggest the promise of the Healthier Together app in facilitating behavioral change to reduce cancer risk among non-Hispanic Black primary care patients.

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