Usage of digital, social and goal-setting functionalities to support health behavior change: A mixed methods study among disadvantaged women during or after pregnancy and their healthcare professionals

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Objective: We aimed to gain insight into how and to what extent social (i.e. private/group chat) and goal-setting (e.g. rewards) functionalities in digital interventions for health behavior change were used by clients and nurses in a preventive care program for disadvantaged women during or after pregnancy, and which factors influenced usage. Methods: We collected quantitative and qualitative data on usage of these functionalities in ‘Kindle’, a mHealth intervention to prepare for health behavior change. Results: We found that nurses (n = 5) and clients (n = 20) scarcely used both functionalities. They sent 862 messages in the social functionality whose security they appreciated, but habitually used WhatsApp likewise. Moreover, nurses were hesitant to let their clients interact in the group chat. Clients formulated 59 personal goals, which they found difficult to do. Nurses rewarded 846 points for clients’ progress on goal attainment, but found it hard to determine how many points to reward. Clients and nurses indicated that the functionality made it more fun and easy to discuss clients’ personal goals. Conclusions: To conclude, digital, social and goal-setting functionalities were used to a limited extent by nurses and clients, and need optimization before implementation to support disadvantaged groups to change their health behavior.
Original languageEnglish
Article number104981
JournalInternational Journal of Medical Informatics
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2023


  • Health behavior change
  • Patient-Provider Communication
  • Smoking cessation
  • Text messaging
  • eHealth
  • mHealth

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