A gap exists between the evidence for reducing risk of knee osteoarthritis (KOA) progression and its application in patients’ daily lives. We aimed to bridge this gap by identifying patient and family physician (FP) self-management priorities to conceptualize and develop a mobile-health application (m-health app). Our co-design approach combined priorities and concerns solicited from patients and FPs with evidence on risk of progression to design and develop a KOA self-management tool.
Parallel qualitative research of patient and FP perspectives was conducted to inform the co-design process. Researchers from the Enhancing Alberta Primary Care Research Networks (EnACT) evaluated the mental models of FPs using cognitive task analysis through structured interviews with four FPs. Using grounded theory methods, patient researchers from the Patient and Community Engagement Research (PaCER) program interviewed five patients to explore their perspectives about needs and interactions within primary care. In three co-design sessions relevant stakeholders (four patients, five FPs, and thirteen researchers) participated to: (i) identify user needs with regard to KOA self-management; and (ii) conceptualize and determine design priorities and functionalities of an m-health app using a modified nominal group process.
Priority measures for symptoms, activities, and quality of life from the user perspective were determined in the first two sessions. The third co-design session with our industry partner resulted in finalization of priorities through interactive patient and FP feedback. The top three features were: (i) a symptoms graph and summary; (ii) information and strategies; and (iii) setting goals. These features were used to inform the development of a minimum viable product.
The novel use of co-design created directive dialog around the needs of patients, highlighting the contrasting views that exist between patients and FPs and emphasizing how exploring these differences might lead to strong design options for patient-oriented m-health apps. Characterizing these disjunctions has important implications for operationalizing patient-centered health care.