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Creating a Digital Toolkit to Reduce Fatigue and Promote Quality of Life in Multiple Sclerosis: Participatory Design and Usability Study.

Thomas, S., Pulman, A., Dogan, H., Jiang, N., Passmore, D., Pretty, K., Fairbanks, B., Davies Smith, A. and Thomas, P., 2021. Creating a Digital Toolkit to Reduce Fatigue and Promote Quality of Life in Multiple Sclerosis: Participatory Design and Usability Study. JMIR Formative Research, 5 (12), e19230.

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DOI: 10.2196/19230


BACKGROUND: Fatigue is one of the most common and debilitating symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS), experienced by more than 80% of people with MS. FACETS (Fatigue: Applying Cognitive Behavioral and Energy Effectiveness Techniques to Lifestyle) is an evidence-based, face-to-face, 6-session group fatigue management program for people with MS. Homework tasks are an integral part of FACETS and are currently undertaken in a paper-based form. Feedback from a consultation undertaken with FACETS attendees and health care professionals with experience in delivering the FACETS program suggested that being able to complete the homework tasks digitally would be desirable, potentially enhancing engagement and adherence and enabling on-the-go access to fit into busy lifestyles. Relative to other long-term conditions, there are few apps specifically for MS and, of those available, many have been developed with little or no input from people with MS. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this mixed methods study was to create a digital toolkit comprising the homework tasks (eg, activity diary, goal planner, thought diary) of the FACETS program for people with MS, considering end users' unique requirements throughout the design, build, prototyping, and testing stages. METHODS: Phase 1 involved the elicitation of detailed user requirements for the toolkit via 2 focus groups with previous attendees of FACETS (n=3 and n=6) and wireframing. Phase 2 involved supervised usability testing with people with MS (n=11) with iterative prototyping. The usability sessions involved going through test scenarios using the FACETS toolkit on an Android test phone with video capture and concurrent think-aloud followed by completion of the System Usability Scale (SUS) and a semistructured interview collecting feedback about design, content, and functionality. RESULTS: The mean SUS score for the digital toolkit was 74.3 (SD 16.8, 95% CI 63.2-85.6; range 37.5-95), which equates to an adjective rating of good and a B grade (70th-79th percentile range) on the Sauro-Lewis curved grading scale. A number of usability and design issues (such as simplifying overall screen flow to better meet users' needs) and suggestions for improvements (such as using location-based services and displaying personalized information and progress via a central dashboard) were addressed and implemented during the usability testing cycle. CONCLUSIONS: This work highlights the importance of the participation of people with MS across the entire development cycle, working to a human-centered design methodology to enable a considered and MS-centered solution to be developed. Continued horizon scanning for emergent technological enhancements will enable us to identify opportunities for further improvements to the FACETS toolkit prior to launch. The toolkit supports self-monitoring and management of fatigue and has potential applicability to other long-term conditions where fatigue is a significant issue.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:cognitive behavioral ; development ; digital health ; eHealth ; fatigue ; mHealth ; multiple sclerosis ; participatory design ; self-management ; usability testing
Group:Faculty of Health & Social Sciences
ID Code:36379
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:14 Dec 2021 09:54
Last Modified:14 Mar 2022 14:31


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