Online Program

NCI quitpal: An evidence-based app to help people quit smoking

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Holly Massett, PhD, Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program, National Cancer Institute, Rockville, MD
Nancy L. Atkinson, PhD, Westat, Rockville, MD
Amanda Kraiger, MHS, Feinstein Kean Healthcare Contractor, Office of Communications and Education, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD
Meredith Grady, M.P.H., DCCPS, National Cancer Institute, Rockville, MD
Bill Killam, M.A. CHFP, User-Centered Design, Inc., Ashburn, VA
Barbara Barry, User-Centered Design, Inc., Ashburn, VA
Cigarette smoking is a leading preventable risk factor for cancer and other causes of death. The National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), developed an iPhone app to help people quit smoking. The development of NCI QuitPal extends the reach of health behavior interventions available from the Institute and adapts to the rising rates of Smartphone ownership in the United States. Although mobile applications for smoking cessation exist, they are lacking in theory and outcomes evaluation. NCI QuitPal applies the latest smoking cessation evidence and behavior change theory. In response to the need established in the literature and the lack of evidence-based interventions using mobile devices, NCI conducted three rounds of user-centered research to guide the development of a smoking cessation app. Several research activities were conducted to develop NCI QuitPal, including a review of existing apps and focus groups with adult smokers with iPhones to determine current iPhone usage and factors in adoption of apps. In addition, triads with adult smokers with iPhones to gauge reactions to features and functionality, and a beta test to evaluate the stability of the code and obtain initial user feedback on usability of this application were completed. The app was developed using formative research results, and contains more than 10 functional areas such as setting a quit date, financial goals, and reminders. It allows users to track daily smoking habits with an easy-to-use calendar, includes motivational reminders that coincide with progress, sends health milestones and craving tips to motivate, allows users to connect with social networks and view personalized video messages from loved ones. Since its launch in October 2012 for free in the App StoreĀ™, NCI QuitPal, was downloaded 5,129 times and received two 5-star reviews from consumers.

Learning Areas:

Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
Identify evidence-based research activities that support the development of a mobile app. Discuss key findings from formative research that could be applied to development of other behavior change apps. Name important features and functions to include in a behavior change app. Describe important planning, evaluation, and launch strategies for a mobile app.

Keyword(s): Tobacco Control, Health Behavior

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been a principal or co-principal of several federal grants and contracts focused on consumer health informatics. I participated as a key consumer informatics expert in the entire life cycle development process of the QuitPal app and its formative evaluation. I also participated in developing the APHA presentation materials.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.