Consumer digital healthAbout consumer digital health

Today the convergence of information access via search tools, personal health records, mobile smart phones, wearable sensors, and information exchange between consumers and clinicians, has created a world of health ‘apps’. Patient decision aids and online support tools are thus likely to make significant contributions to the management of conditions like diabetes and obesity, which have major lifestyle antecedents. The number of health and wellness apps can make for a bewildering choice for consumers. Yet, despite their widespread availability, there remain substantial gaps in our understanding of these potentially transformative and disruptive technologies. Most consumer health apps remain unevaluated. A major challenge to the evaluation of consumer apps is that they are often not discrete interventions, but come as a bundle of different service features, making it hard to understand which elements contribute to system success or failure.

The CRE will work with consumers, system designers and service providers to carry out highly novel and much needed research into the factors that lead to successful implementation of consumer digital health tools. It will study the relationship between outcomes and the different features of consumer apps, users, and the context of use. It will seek to develop evidence-based guidelines for the design of consumer apps and the health services in which they are embedded.

Key outcomes for consumer digital health

  1. A meta-analysis of at least seven past consumer e-health trials to model the relationship between design, uptake, engagement, user characteristics, contexts of use and outcomes.
  2. Prospective trials of Healthy.me in chronic illness to test the meta-analysis model.
  3. Evidence-based recommendations for the design and implementation of consumer ‘apps’.

Partners and collaborators

CSIRO Molecular and Health Technologies – Australian e-Health Research Centre
Macquarie University – Centre for Health Informatics
St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney
UNSW Sydney (The University of New South Wales)