TControl: A mobile app to follow up tobacco-quitting patients
Pifarré Montalà, Marc
Carrera Peruga, Adrián
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Background and Objective Tobacco smoking is a major risk factor for a wide range of respiratory and circulatory diseases in active and passive smokers. Well-designed campaigns are raising awareness to the problem and an increasing number of smokers seeks medical assistance to quit their habit. In this context, there is the need to develop mHealth Apps that assist and manage large smoke quitting programs in efficient and economic ways. Objectives Our main objective is to develop an efficient and free mHealth app that facilitates the management of, and assistance to, people who want to quit smoking. As secondary objectives, our research also aims at estimating the economic effect of deploying that App in the public health system. Methods Using JAVA and XML we develop and deploy a new free mHealth App for Android, called TControl (Tobacco-quitting Control). We deploy the App at the Tobacco Unit of the Santa Maria Hospital in Lleida and determine its stability by following the crashes of the App. We also use a survey to test usability of the app and differences in aptitude for using the App in a sample of 31 patients. Finally, we use mathematical models to estimate the economic effect of deploying TControl in the Catalan public health system. Results TControl keeps track of the smoke-quitting users, tracking their status, interpreting it, and offering advice and psychological support messages. The App also provides a bidirectional communication channel between patients and clinicians via mobile text messages. Additionally, registered patients have the option to interchange experiences with each other by chat. The App was found to be stable and to have high performances during startup and message sending. Our results suggest that age and gender have no statistically significant effect on patient aptitude for using TControl. Finally, we estimate that TControl could reduce costs for the Catalan public health system (CPHS) by up to € 400M in 10 years. Conclusions TControl is a stable and well behaved App, typically operating near optimal performance. It can be used independent of age and gender, and its wide implementation could decrease costs for the public health system.
Is part ofComputer Methods and Programs in Biomedicine, 2017, vol. 142, p. 81-89
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