Fit to Print

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I promised I’d share my article when it was up. Man, for as long as it takes for a paper to get accepted, they sure do throw it into a journal quickly!

It’s available online now, and will be printed in Volume 59 of the Journal of Biomedical Informatics in February.

Since I’m not sure how much of it I’m allowed to share, legally, here, I’ll leave you with just the abstract (because that’s all you’re going to read anyway, amiright?).

Background

There has been a rise in internet-based health interventions without a concomitant focus on new methods to measure user engagement and its effect on outcomes. We describe current user tracking methods for internet-based health interventions and offer suggestions for improvement based on the design and pilot testing of healthMpowerment.org (HMP).

Methods

HMP is a multi-component online intervention for young Black men and transgender women who have sex with men (YBMSM/TW) to reduce risky sexual behaviors, promote healthy living and build social support. The intervention is non-directive, incorporates interactive features, and utilizes a point-based reward system. Fifteen YBMSM/TW (age 20–30) participated in a one-month pilot study to test the usability and efficacy of HMP. Engagement with the intervention was tracked using a customized data capture system and validated with Google Analytics. Usage was measured in time spent (total and across sections) and points earned.

Results

Average total time spent on HMP was five hours per person (range 0–13). Total time spent was correlated with total points earned and overall site satisfaction.

Conclusion

Measuring engagement in internet-based interventions is crucial to determining efficacy. Multiple methods of tracking helped derive more comprehensive user profiles. Results highlighted the limitations of measures to capture user activity and the elusiveness of the concept of engagement.

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