A pinboard by
Amy Nguyen

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, UNSW Sydney


Involving patients in health app development will improve uptake and clinical effectiveness of apps.

Mobile apps are useful in self-management of chronic conditions. However, very few health apps are co-developed with patients, and so their uptake and effectiveness are limited. My research aims to co-develop a mobile app for, and with, patients to self-manage a chronic disease.

I involved patients in all development stages, through interviews, focus groups and prototype testing, of a self-management app to ensure the app fulfilled patient needs, and was also easy to use. I predict that this iterative process increases the likelihood that the final app is accepted by patients, which will ultimately lead to increased uptake and greater clinical effectiveness.


An e‐health strategy to facilitate care of breast cancer survivors: A pilot study

Abstract: Innovative e‐health strategies are emerging, to tailor and provide convenient, systematic and high‐quality survivorship care for an expanding cancer survivor population. This pilot study tests the application of an e‐health platform, “Healthy.me,” in a breast cancer survivor cohort at Liverpool and Macarthur Cancer Therapy Centres, New South Wales, Australia.Fifty breast cancer patients were recruited to use the Healthy.me website, designed by the Centre of Health Informatics at the University of New South Wales, over a 4‐month period. Telephone and online questionnaires were used at 1 and 4 months and a face‐to‐face feedback at study completion, to gather qualitative and quantitative data regarding feasibility of Healthy.me.Healthy.me was reported to be a useful online resource by most users. Usage declined from 76% at 1 month to 48% at 4 months. Breast cancer survivors enjoyed a variety of tailored information regarding health and life‐style issues. Positive aspects of Healthy.me were the convenient access to trusted information, and interaction with their peers and healthcare professionals. Barriers to usage contributing to usage decline were lack of reported patient time to re‐access information, limited content updates and technical factors.This pilot study suggested the potential of an e‐health strategy such as Healthy.me in addressing the needs of a growing breast cancer survivor population. Ongoing development of a more robust e‐health resource and integration with primary care models is warranted.

Pub.: 01 Feb '16, Pinned: 17 Oct '17

Protocol for a randomised controlled trial examining the impact of a web-based personally controlled health management system on the uptake of influenza vaccination rates.

Abstract: Online social networking and personally controlled health management systems (PCHMS) offer a new opportunity for developing innovative interventions to prevent diseases of public health concern (e.g., influenza) but there are few comparative studies about patterns of use and impact of these systems.A 2010 CONSORT-compliant randomised controlled trial with a two-group parallel design will assess the efficacy of a web-based PCHMS called Healthy.me in facilitating the uptake of influenza vaccine amongst university students and staff. Eligible participants are randomised either to obtain access to Healthy.me or a 6-month waitlist. Participants complete pre-study, post-study and monthly surveys about their health and utilisation of health services. A post-study clinical audit will be conducted to validate self-reports about influenza vaccination and visits to the university health service due to influenza-like illness (ILI) amongst a subset of participants. 600 participants older than 18 years with monthly access to the Internet and email will be recruited. Participants who (i) discontinue the online registration process; (ii) report obtaining an influenza vaccination in 2010 before the commencement of the study; or (iii) report being influenced by other participants to undertake influenza vaccination will be excluded from analysis. The primary outcome measure is the number of participants obtaining influenza vaccination during the study. Secondary outcome measures include: number of participants (i) experiencing ILI symptoms, (ii) absent from or experiencing impairment in work or study due to ILI symptoms, (iii) using health services or medications due to ILI symptoms; (iv) expressing positive or negative attitudes or experiences towards influenza vaccination, via their reasons of receiving (or not receiving) influenza vaccine; and (v) their patterns of usage of Healthy.me (e.g., frequency and timing of hits, duration of access, uptake of specific functions).This study will provide new insights about the utility of online social networking and PCHMS for public health and health promotion. It will help to assess whether a web-based PCHMS, with connectivity to a health service provider, containing information and self-management tools, can improve the uptake of preventive health services amongst university students and staff.ACTRN12610000386033 (Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry).

Pub.: 03 Apr '12, Pinned: 17 Oct '17

Mobile applications to enhance self-management of gout.

Abstract: Gout is an arthritic condition that is characterised by extremely painful, debilitating acute attacks and eventual joint and organ damage if not controlled. Despite the availability of very effective therapies that, if adhered to, will prevent acute attacks and long-term damage, the disorder is increasingly prevalent. There is an urgent need to improve self-management of gout.Mobile health (mHealth) applications ('apps'), designed to facilitate management of chronic conditions, present novel opportunities for supporting patient self-management of gout. The aim of this review was to assess features of available gout management apps designed to assist consumers in managing their gout and their consistency with guidelines for gout management.English-language, smart-device apps designed to assist self-management of gout were identified using search term "gout" and downloaded from Apple and Google Play app stores. To be included in the review, apps had to allow users to monitor their gout disease (e.g. serum uric acid (sUA) tracking, record acute attacks) and/or educate patients about gout. Investigators derived patient-focused recommendations for gout management from contemporary guidelines. Features of reviewed apps were independently assessed by two reviewers for their facilitation of these recommendations.The search identified 57 apps possibly relevant to gout management, of which six met the inclusion criteria. One app incorporated all recommendations for patient-focused gout management from guidelines including monitoring sUA, recording attacks and lifestyle advice. However, the majority of these elements were not functional within the app, and instead required users to manually complete printouts.Currently, only one app exists that includes all recommendations to facilitate patient self-management of gout, however some features can only be actioned manually. Given the lack of progress in achieving better patient outcomes and the promise of mHealth interventions to deliver significant gains, new or updated gout management apps are required to promote successful self-management of this chronic disease.

Pub.: 31 Aug '16, Pinned: 17 Oct '17