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Research news: Smartphone app to engage young people in their healthcare

Younger people with mobile phones and tablets

The Arthritis Research UK Centre for Adolescent Rheumatology is the world’s first centre dedicated to understanding arthritis in adolescents. In partnership with Great Ormond Street Hospital, University College London and University College London Hospital, and with funding also provided by Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity (GOSHCC), research at this centre explores how and why arthritis affects this age group. One of the projects that the centre is currently working on (co-funded by the Health Foundation) involves the use of a self-management smartphone app (JIApp) to allow young people with juvenile idiopathic arthritis to self-monitor their disease activity and side effects, and ultimately engage with their healthcare.

The application also allows young people with the condition to access educational information and social support forums, as well as the option to receive treatment-related reminders. The researchers hope that using the app can increase a patient’s understanding of their arthritis, promote self-management, and improve the quality of information available to their doctor. The app was designed and developed alongside both young people with the condition, parents of those with the condition, and healthcare professionals. The researchers recently published on this work, in which they found the acceptability and usability of JIApp, to be high for both young people with juvenile idiopathic arthritis and healthcare professionals. The next steps will be a long-term testing of the app to study the effect on outcomes, as well as the cost-effectiveness of using this type of system.

To find out more or if you have any questions please visit the centre for adolescent rheumatology’s website:

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