JMIR Pediatr Parent. 2022 Oct 6;5(4):e37718. doi: 10.2196/37718.
BACKGROUND: Recent increases in smartphone ownership among underserved populations have inspired researchers in medicine, computing, and health informatics to design and evaluate mobile health (mHealth) interventions, specifically for those supporting child development and growth. Although these interventions demonstrate possible effectiveness at larger scales, few of these interventions are evaluated to address racial disparities and health equity, which are known factors that affect relevance, uptake, and adherence in target populations.
OBJECTIVE: In this study, we aimed to identify and document the current design and evaluation practices of mHealth technologies that promote early childhood health, with a specific focus on opportunities for those processes to address health disparities and health equity.
METHODS: We completed a systematic literature review of studies that design and evaluate mHealth interventions for early childhood health promotion. We then analyzed these studies to identify opportunities to address racial disparities in early- and late-stage processes and to understand the potential efficacy of these interventions.
RESULTS: Across the literature from medical, computing, and health informatics fields, we identified 15 articles that presented a design or evaluation of a parent-facing health intervention. We found that using mobile-based systems to deliver health interventions was generally well accepted by parents of children aged <5 years. We also found that, when measured, parenting knowledge of early childhood health topics and confidence to engage in health-promoting behaviors improved. Design and evaluation methods held internal consistency within disciplines (eg, experimental study designs were the most prevalent in medical literature, while computing researchers used user-centered design methods in computing fields). However, there is little consistency in design or evaluation methods across fields.
CONCLUSIONS: To support more interventions with a comprehensive design and evaluation process, we recommend attention to design at the intervention (eg, reporting content sources) and system level; interdisciplinary collaboration in early childhood health intervention development can lead to large-scale deployment and success among populations.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: PROSPERO CRD42022359797; https://tinyurl.com/586nx9a2.
PMID:36201391 | DOI:10.2196/37718