mobile technology as a channel for health interventions Case Study: SMS triggering of deep breathing stress reduction habit in Stanford undergraduates. By Shuqiao Song habits.stanford.edu
About Me Human Biology | Designing for Behavior Change Communication | Communication Technologies Health + Technology + Design
Why think about stress reduction?
Because of this…
Mental Health: Managing Stress… What to do?
Smallest Behavior That Matters Deep Breathing
How to persuade students to develop habit of deep breathing?
A Model for Behavior Change Motivation + Ability + TRIGGERS = Behavior Change www.behaviormodel.org
…use SMS for triggering?!
Current Research Still relatively new… But, evidence shows that SMS interventions can work well. (Cole-Lewis & Kershaw) Mostly for disease management. Need more research and innovation using SMS fordisease prevention behaviors!
Let’s try this out!
Ideal User Experience
Shotgun User Testing 10 busy students. 7 days. SMS. And, deep breaths.
So, what happened? 10 created accounts. 7 responded to post-survey. 5 were able to post-intervention stress assessment.
Uh Oh… Some users having difficulty using the program early on. …iterate, use Google Voice to text message personal reminders to them
Did it work? In doing the behavior: 3 users took a deep breath each time they received the reminder! Overall, 67% rate of success in triggering behavior. In reducing stress: Pre and Post stress assessment survey (scale 1-48) On average, participants decreased stress level by 2 points…during FINALS week!
Some important findings though…
Mismatch in Expectation of Effort Most thought this would be simple For some it was extremely difficult and their participation became a source of anxiety! “It was stressful to sign up for the experiment” Why?
Interface Confusion Perception of Difficulty was very varible 4 users thought scheduling SMS was extremely difficult or did not schedule; 3 thought it was easy
But the idea has potential! “I had received the messages during finals week and it was sort of a uplifting moment for some reason. I'm not sure why. It's just not many people tell you personally ( in person or through YOUR cellphone not just a generalized email) to relax.” “[Felt] cared for.” “The reminders were cheerful. […] I liked them more because they came from someone I knew, a friend.”
So focus on Reducing Effort on their Part Personal Touch—from a friend as a light hearted and caring reminder, not a stress inducing reminder
Use mobile tech as a rapid prototyping tool! Best part of intervention was the rapid iteration of the project idea to use Google Voice text message! Other features to explore: MMS, voice calling, Internet connectivity
The potential of mHealth Personal, portable, connected, intelligent (Adler) Widely available, inexpensive, and instant (Cole-Lewis & Kershaw) Use those features for… Trigger Social Support Reinforcement/Feedback
Tech Tools with Potential JITSR ViveCoach Frontline SMS Google Voice
Take Home Points Keep it simple! Make the trigger source personal!