Design strategies for the development of mHealth services in healthcare of adolescents with cancer


  • Amanta Karpathaki MSc Program “Strategies of Developmental and Adolescent Health”, School of Medicine, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece
  • Anna Sargianou MSc Program “Strategies of Developmental and Adolescent Health”, School of Medicine, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece


mobile health, adolescents, young adults, cancer, application design, engagement


During the developmental stage of adolescence, profound physical, cognitive, and emotional changes occur, thus making adolescent cancer patients a population that seemingly have unique needs for support and treatment. Health-related difficulties have been effectively addressed by the use of portable and accessible technology interventions. Adolescents may benefit from mobile health (mHealth) applications that highlight the significance of their integration into medical procedures and public health, due to their innate capacity to use modern technology services. After reviewing 31 articles, it appears that well-designed mHealth practices have the potential to enhance the long-term devotion of the user to the received intervention. MHealth tools seem to incorporate widely applied theories such as Behavior Change Theory, User centered Design, Social Marketing Theory, Social Cognitive Theory, Self-Determination Theory and Narrative Transportation Theory, in order to increase patients’ engagement with the main purpose of behavioral change. The aforementioned theoretical frameworks include engaging strategies such as developmentally accepted content, rewards, customization, user feedback, time-appropriate intervention delivery, multimedia provision, ease to use and therapeutically designed games that could be implemented in mHealth interventions for adolescents with a cancer diagnosis. Both the theoretical structure and the engaging characteristics present a few limitations. These are discussed at the end of this review along with potential future research suggestions in order to improve the design procedures of mHealth services applied in adolescents with cancer, intending to optimize health-related behavior.



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