Development of an mHealth App for Patients With Psoriasis Undergoing Biological Treatment: Participatory Design Study

Bettina Trettin, Dorthe Boe Danbjørg, Flemming Andersen, Steven Feldman, Hanne Agerskov

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In Denmark, patients with psoriasis undergoing biological treatment have regular follow-ups, typically every 3 months. This may pose a challenge for patients who live far away from the hospital. Mobile health (mHealth) is a promising and reliable tool for the long-term management of patients with psoriasis undergoing biological treatment because the disease course can be properly monitored. Despite recent developments in mHealth, the full potential of teledermatology remains to be tapped by newer, more attractive forms of services focused on patients’ needs.
This study aims to design and develop an mHealth app to support the self-management of patients with psoriasis using a participatory design.
Using participatory design, we conducted 1 future workshop, 4 mock-up workshops, and 1 prototype test with patients and health care professionals to co-design a prototype. The process was iterative to ensure that all stakeholders would provide input into the design and outcome; this approach enabled continuous revision of the prototype until an acceptable solution was agreed upon. Data were analyzed according to the steps—plan, act, observe, and reflect—in the methodology of participatory design.
Health care professionals and patients emphasized the importance of a more patient-centered approach, focusing on the communication and maintenance of relationships. Patients perceived consultations to be impersonal and repetitive and wanted the opportunity to contribute to the agenda while attending a consultation. Patients also stated they would prefer not to attend visits in person every 3 months. On the basis of these findings, we designed an mHealth app that could replace in-person visits and support patients at in-person visits. Video consultations, self-monitoring, and registration of patient-reported outcome data were embedded in the app.
Using participatory design facilitated mutual learning and democratic processes that gave end users a significant influence over the solution. Despite the advantages of using participatory design in developing mHealth solutions, organizational conditions may still represent a barrier to the optimization of solutions.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere26673
JournalJMIR Dermatology
Issue number1
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


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