Introduction M-health interventions are increasingly popular due to their low cost and potential for widespread dissemination and reach to target groups. For m-health interventions to have an impact on behaviour they must be engaging and relevant to the target audience. However there is limited literature to inform researchers about the development process. This presentation shares key challenges and lessons learnt in the development of a mobile phone based (m-health) intervention for parents living in socio-economically dissadvantaged areas. The intervention aimed to promote infant feeding practices that lead to healthy rather than excess weight gain.
Methods: The Growing healthy program consists of an app and website and participants are referred to the program by their MCH nurse or general practice nurse. Participants receive three messages a week that link to relevant information in the app or website. The development of the program involved: an analysis of existing apps and websites on infant feeding, literature reviews, qualitative work with health practitioners and parents and consumer testing to enhance engagement and usability. Researchers documented development challenges and lessons throughout the process. The effectiveness of the app/website will be measured by participants’ engagement as well as key outcomes including duration of breastfeeding, formula feeding practices and infant weight gain trajectory.
Results: There were key learnings in all domains of the project development, including the app content, navigation and appearance and the technology for both the app functionality and to embed data collection.
Conclusion Although m-health interventions can affect health behavior, the development process is extensive. We provide guidance on this process for researchers contemplating m-health intervention as well as key outcomes from the trial.