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Journal Description

The Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR), now in its 21st year, is the pioneer open access eHealth journal and is the flagship journal of JMIR Publications. It is the leading digital health journal globally in terms of quality/visibility (Impact Factor 2018: 4.945, ranked #1 out of 26 journals in the medical informatics category) and in terms of size (number of papers published). The journal focuses on emerging technologies, medical devices, apps, engineering, and informatics applications for patient education, prevention, population health and clinical care. As a leading high-impact journal in its disciplines (health informatics and health services research), it is selective, but it is now complemented by almost 30 specialty JMIR sister journals, which have a broader scope. Peer-review reports are portable across JMIR journals and papers can be transferred, so authors save time by not having to resubmit a paper to different journals. 

As an open access journal, we are read by clinicians, allied health professionals, informal caregivers, and patients alike, and have (as with all JMIR journals) a focus on readable and applied science reporting the design and evaluation of health innovations and emerging technologies. We publish original research, viewpoints, and reviews (both literature reviews and medical device/technology/app reviews).

We are also a leader in participatory and open science approaches, and offer the option to publish new submissions immediately as preprints, which receive DOIs for immediate citation (eg, in grant proposals), and for open peer-review purposes. We also invite patients to participate (eg, as peer-reviewers) and have patient representatives on editorial boards.

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Recent Articles:

  • Source: freepik; Copyright: tirachardz; URL:; License: Licensed by JMIR.

    Online Information Exchange and Anxiety Spread in the Early Stage of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak in South Korea: Structural Topic Model and...


    Background: In case of a population-wide infectious disease outbreak, such as the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), people’s online activities could significantly affect public concerns and health behaviors due to difficulty in accessing credible information from reliable sources, which in turn causes people to seek necessary information on the web. Therefore, measuring and analyzing online health communication and public sentiment is essential for establishing effective and efficient disease control policies, especially in the early stage of an outbreak. Objective: This study aimed to investigate the trends of online health communication, analyze the focus of people’s anxiety in the early stages of COVID-19, and evaluate the appropriateness of online information. Methods: We collected 13,148 questions and 29,040 answers related to COVID-19 from Naver, the most popular Korean web portal (January 20, 2020, to March 2, 2020). Three main methods were used in this study: (1) the structural topic model was used to examine the topics in the online questions; (2) word network analysis was conducted to analyze the focus of people’s anxiety and worry in the questions; and (3) two medical doctors assessed the appropriateness of the answers to the questions, which were primarily related to people’s anxiety. Results: A total of 50 topics and 6 cohesive topic communities were identified from the questions. Among them, topic community 4 (suspecting COVID-19 infection after developing a particular symptom) accounted for the largest portion of the questions. As the number of confirmed patients increased, the proportion of topics belonging to topic community 4 also increased. Additionally, the prolonged situation led to a slight increase in the proportion of topics related to job issues. People’s anxieties and worries were closely related with physical symptoms and self-protection methods. Although relatively appropriate to suspect physical symptoms, a high proportion of answers related to self-protection methods were assessed as misinformation or advertisements. Conclusions: Search activity for online information regarding the COVID-19 outbreak has been active. Many of the online questions were related to people’s anxieties and worries. A considerable portion of corresponding answers had false information or were advertisements. The study results could contribute reference information to various countries that need to monitor public anxiety and provide appropriate information in the early stage of an infectious disease outbreak, including COVID-19. Our research also contributes to developing methods for measuring public opinion and sentiment in an epidemic situation based on natural language data on the internet.

  • Source: Freepik; Copyright: Freepik; URL:; License: Licensed by JMIR.

    Patient Work and Their Contexts: Scoping Review


    Background: Having patients self-manage their health conditions is a widely promoted concept, but many patients struggle to practice it effectively. Moreover, few studies have analyzed the nature of work required from patients and how such work fits into the context of their daily life. Objective: This study aimed to review the characteristics of patient work in adult patients. Patient work refers to tasks that health conditions impose on patients (eg, taking medications) within a system of contextual factors. Methods: A systematic scoping review was conducted using narrative synthesis. Data were extracted from PubMed, Excerpta Medica database (EMBASE), Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), and PsycINFO, including studies from August 2013 to August 2018. The included studies focused on adult patients and assessed one or more of the following: (1) physical health–related tasks, (2) cognitive health–related tasks, or (3) contextual factors affecting these tasks. Tasks were categorized according to the themes that emerged: (1) if the task is always visible to others or can be cognitive, (2) if the task must be conducted collaboratively or can be conducted alone, and (3) if the task was done with the purpose of creating resources. Contextual factors were grouped according to the level at which they exert influence (micro, meso, or macro) and where they fit in the patient work system (the macroergonomic layer of physical, social, and organizational factors; the mesoergonomic layer of household and community; and the microergonomic triad of person-task-tools). Results: In total, 67 publications were included, with 58 original research articles and 9 review articles. A variety of patient work tasks were observed, ranging from physical and tangible tasks (such as taking medications and visiting health care professionals) to psychological and social tasks (such as creating coping strategies). Patient work was affected by a range of contextual factors on the micro, meso, or macro levels. Our results indicate that most patient work was done alone, in private, and often imposing cognitive burden with low amounts of support. Conclusions: This review sought to provide insight into the work burden of health management from a patient perspective and how patient context influences such work. For many patients, health-related work is ever present, invisible, and overwhelming. When researchers and clinicians design and implement patient-facing interventions, it is important to understand how the extra work impacts one’s internal state and coping strategy, how such work fits into daily routines, and if these changes could be maintained in the long term.

  • A post shown on a mobile phone. Source: / The Authors; Copyright: jannoon028 (Freepik) / Image created by author; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Facebook as a Novel Tool for Continuous Professional Education on Dementia: Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial


    Background: Social network sites (SNSs) are widely exploited in health education and communication by the general public, including patients with various conditions. Nevertheless, there is an absence of evidence evaluating SNSs in connecting health professionals for professional purposes. Objective: This pilot randomized controlled trial was designed to evaluate the feasibility of an intervention aiming to investigate the effects of a continuous professional education program utilizing Facebook to obtain knowledge on dementia and care for patients with dementia. Methods: Eighty health professionals from Hong Kong were recruited for participation in the study and randomized at a 1:1 ratio by a block randomization method to the intervention group (n=40) and control group (n=40). The intervention was an 8-week educational program developed to deliver updated knowledge on dementia care from a multidisciplinary perspective, either by Facebook (intervention group) or by email (control group) from October 2018 to January 2019. The primary outcomes were the effects of the intervention, measured by differences in the means of changes in pre- and postintervention scores of knowledge assessments from the 25-item Dementia Knowledge Assessment Scale (DKAS) and formative evaluation of 20 multiple choice questions. Other outcome measurements included participant compliance, participant engagement in Facebook, satisfaction, and self-perceived uses of Facebook for continuing professional education programs. Results: Significantly more intervention group participants (n=35) completed the study than the control group (n=25) (P<.001). The overall retention rate was 75% (60/80). The mean of changes in scores in the intervention group were significant in all assessments (P<.001). A significant difference in the mean of changes in scores between the two groups was identified in the DKAS subscale Communication and Behavior (95% CI 0.4-3.3, P=.02). There was no significant difference in the total DKAS scores, scores of other DKAS subscales, and multiple choice questions. Participant compliance was significantly higher in the intervention group than in the control group (P<.001). The mean numbers of participants accessing the learning materials were 31.5 (SD 3.9) and 17.6 (SD 5.2) in the intervention and control group, respectively. Polls attracted the highest level of participant engagement, followed by videos. Intervention group participants scored significantly higher in favoring the use of Facebook for the continuing education program (P=.03). Overall, participants were satisfied with the interventions (mean score 4 of a total of 5, SD 0.6). Conclusions: The significantly higher retention rate, together with the high levels of participant compliance and engagement, demonstrate that Facebook is a promising tool for professional education. Education delivered through Facebook was significantly more effective at improving participants’ knowledge of how people with dementia communicate and behave. Participants demonstrated positive attitudes toward utilizing Facebook for professional learning. These findings provide evidence for the feasibility of using Facebook as an intervention delivery tool in a manner that can be rolled out into practical settings.

  • Source: Image created by the authors; Copyright: The Authors; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    The Use of Mobile Personal Health Records for Hemoglobin A1c Regulation in Patients With Diabetes: Retrospective Observational Study


    Background: The effectiveness of personal health records (PHRs) in diabetes management has already been verified in several clinical trials; however, evidence of their effectiveness in real-world scenarios is also necessary. To provide solid real-world evidence, an analysis that is more accurate than the analyses solely based on patient-generated health data should be conducted. Objective: This study aimed to conduct a more accurate analysis of the effectiveness of using PHRs within electronic medical records (EMRs). The results of this study will provide precise real-world evidence of PHRs as a feasible diabetes management tool. Methods: We collected log data of the sugar function in the My Chart in My Hand version 2.0 (MCMH 2.0) app from Asan Medical Center (AMC), Seoul, Republic of Korea, between December 2015 and April 2018. The EMR data of MCMH 2.0 users from AMC were collected and integrated with the PHR data. We classified users according to whether they were continuous app users. We analyzed and compared their characteristics, patterns of hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) levels, and the proportion of successful HbA1c control. The following confounders were adjusted for HbA1c pattern analysis and HbA1c regulation proportion comparison: age, sex, first HbA1c measurement, diabetes complications severity index score, sugar function data generation weeks, HbA1c measurement weeks before MCMH 2.0 start, and generated sugar function data count. Results: The total number of MCMH 2.0 users was 64,932, with 7453 users having appropriate PHRs and diabetes criteria. The number of continuous and noncontinuous users was 133 and 7320, respectively. Compared with noncontinuous users, continuous users were younger (P<.001) and had a higher male proportion (P<.001). Furthermore, continuous users had more frequent HbA1c measurements (P=.007), shorter HbA1c measurement days (P=.04), and a shorter period between the first HbA1c measurement and MCMH 2.0 start (P<.001). Diabetes severity–related factors were not statistically significantly different between the two groups. Continuous users had a higher decrease in HbA1c (P=.02) and a higher proportion of regulation of HbA1c levels to the target level (P=.01). After adjusting the confounders, continuous users had more decline in HbA1c levels than noncontinuous users (P=.047). Of the users who had a first HbA1c measurement higher than 6.5% (111 continuous users and 5716 noncontinuous users), continuous users had better regulation of HbA1c levels with regard to the target level, 6.5%, which was statistically significant (P=.04). Conclusions: By integrating and analyzing patient- and clinically generated data, we demonstrated that the continuous use of PHRs improved diabetes management outcomes. In addition, the HbA1c reduction pattern was prominent in the PHR continuous user group. Although the continued use of PHRs has proven to be effective in managing diabetes, further evaluation of its effectiveness for various diseases and a study on PHR adherence are also required.

  • Source: The Authors/Placeit; Copyright: The Authors/Placeit; URL:; License: Licensed by JMIR.

    Data Validation and Verification Using Blockchain in a Clinical Trial for Breast Cancer: Regulatory Sandbox


    Background: The integrity of data in a clinical trial is essential, but the current data management process is too complex and highly labor-intensive. As a result, clinical trials are prone to consuming a lot of budget and time, and there is a risk for human-induced error and data falsification. Blockchain technology has the potential to address some of these challenges. Objective: The aim of the study was to validate a system that enables the security of medical data in a clinical trial using blockchain technology. Methods: We have developed a blockchain-based data management system for clinical trials and tested the system through a clinical trial for breast cancer. The project was conducted to demonstrate clinical data management using blockchain technology under the regulatory sandbox enabled by the Japanese Cabinet Office. Results: We verified and validated the data in the clinical trial using the validation protocol and tested its resilience to data tampering. The robustness of the system was also proven by survival with zero downtime for clinical data registration during a Amazon Web Services disruption event in the Tokyo region on August 23, 2019. Conclusions: We show that our system can improve clinical trial data management, enhance trust in the clinical research process, and ease regulator burden. The system will contribute to the sustainability of health care services through the optimization of cost for clinical trials.

  • Support group facilitator using implementation guide. Source: Image created by the Authors; Copyright: FHI 360; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    A Social Media–Based Support Group for Youth Living With HIV in Nigeria (SMART Connections): Randomized Controlled Trial


    Background: Youth living with HIV (YLHIV) enrolled in HIV treatment experience higher loss to follow-up, suboptimal treatment adherence, and greater HIV-related mortality compared with younger children or adults. Despite poorer health outcomes, few interventions target youth specifically. Expanding access to mobile phone technology, in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) in particular, has increased interest in using this technology to improve health outcomes. mHealth interventions may present innovative opportunities to improve adherence and retention among YLHIV in LMICs. Objective: This study aimed to test the effectiveness of a structured support group intervention, Social Media to promote Adherence and Retention in Treatment (SMART) Connections, delivered through a social media platform, on HIV treatment retention among YLHIV aged 15 to 24 years and on secondary outcomes of antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence, HIV knowledge, and social support. Methods: We conducted a parallel, unblinded randomized controlled trial. YLHIV enrolled in HIV treatment for less than 12 months were randomized in a 1:1 ratio to receive SMART Connections (intervention) or standard of care alone (control). We collected data at baseline and endline through structured interviews and medical record extraction. We also conducted in-depth interviews with subsets of intervention group participants. The primary outcome was retention in HIV treatment. We conducted a time-to-event analysis examining time retained in treatment from study enrollment to the date the participant was no longer classified as active-on-treatment. Results: A total of 349 YLHIV enrolled in the study and were randomly allocated to the intervention group (n=177) or control group (n=172). Our primary analysis included data from 324 participants at endline. The probability of being retained in treatment did not differ significantly between the 2 study arms during the study. Retention was high at endline, with 75.7% (112/163) of intervention group participants and 83.4% (126/161) of control group participants active on treatment. HIV-related knowledge was significantly better in the intervention group at endline, but no statistically significant differences were found for ART adherence or social support. Intervention group participants overwhelmingly reported that the intervention was useful, that they enjoyed taking part, and that they would recommend it to other YLHIV. Conclusions: Our findings of improved HIV knowledge and high acceptability are encouraging, despite a lack of measurable effect on retention. Retention was greater than anticipated in both groups, likely a result of external efforts that began partway through the study. Qualitative data indicate that the SMART Connections intervention may have contributed to retention, adherence, and social support in ways that were not captured quantitatively. Web-based delivery of support group interventions can permit people to access information and other group members privately, when convenient, and without travel. Such digital health interventions may help fill critical gaps in services available for YLHIV. Trial Registration: NCT03516318;

  • Source: iStock; Copyright: Jovanmandic; URL:; License: Licensed by the authors.

    A Prospective Study of Usability and Workload of Electronic Medication Adherence Products by Older Adults, Caregivers, and Health Care Providers


    Background: A decreased capacity to self-manage medications results in nonadherence, medication errors, and drug-related problems in older adults. Previous research identified 80 electronic medication adherence products available to assist patients with self-management of medications. Unfortunately, the usability and workload of these products are unknown. Objective: This study aimed to examine the usability and workload of a sample of electronic medication adherence products. Methods: In a prospective, mixed methods study, a sample of older adults, health care professionals, and caregivers tested the usability and workload of 21 electronic medication adherence products. Each participant tested 5 products, one at a time, after which they completed the system usability scale (SUS) and NASA-task load index (NASA-TLX), instruments that measure the usability and workload involved in using a product. Higher SUS scores indicate more user-friendliness, whereas lower NASA-TLX raw scores indicate less workload when using a product. Results: Electronic medication adherence products required a mean of 12.7 steps (range 5-20) for the appropriate use and took, on average, 15.19 min to complete the setup tasks (range 1-56). Participants were able to complete all steps without assistance 55.3% of the time (103 out of the 186 tests were completed by 39 participants; range 0%-100%). The mean SUS and NASA-TLX raw scores were 52.8 (SD 28.7; range 0-100) and 50.0 (SD 25.7; range 4.2-99.2), respectively, revealing significant variability among the electronic medication adherence products. The most user-friendly products were found to be TimerCap travel size (mean 78.67, SD 15.57; P=.03) and eNNOVEA Weekly Planner with Advanced Auto Reminder (mean 78.13, SD 14.13; P=.049) as compared with MedReady 1700 automated medication dispenser (mean 28.63, SD 21.24). Similarly, MedReady (72.92, SD 18.69) was found to be significantly more work intensive when compared with TimerCap (29.35, SD 20.35; P=.03), e-pill MedGlider home medication management system (28.43, SD 20.80; P=.02), and eNNOVEA (28.65, SD 14.97; P=.03). The e-pill MedTime Station automatic pill dispenser with tipper (71.77, SD 21.98) had significantly more workload than TimerCap (P=.04), MedGlider (P=.03), and eNNOVEA (P=.04). Conclusions: This study demonstrated that variability exists in the usability and workload of different electronic medication adherence products among older adults, caregivers, and clinicians. With few studies having investigated the usability and workload of electronic medication adherence products, no benchmarks exist to compare the usability and workload of these products. However, our study highlights the need to assess the usability and workload of different products marketed to assist with medication taking and provides guidance to clinicians regarding electronic medication adherence product recommendations for their patients. Future development of electronic medication adherence products should ensure that the target populations of patients are able to use these products adequately to improve medication management.

  • Source: Freepik; Copyright: master1305; URL:; License: Licensed by JMIR.

    Modifications to Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems: Content Analysis of YouTube Videos


    Background: As user modification can alter the addictiveness and toxicity of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), more research is needed to understand the types, motivations, risks, and information sources that lead to these product alterations. YouTube has been identified as a major platform where ENDS users obtain and share information about ENDS products and modifications. However, a comprehensive study of ENDS modification videos on YouTube is lacking. Objective: This study aimed to analyze the content of YouTube videos depicting modifications of ENDS. Methods: YouTube was searched in March 2019 to identify videos depicting ENDS modifications. Search terms were derived from interviews with ENDS users and current literature. We used 28 search phrases that combined the words vape and vaping with modification-related key terms (eg, custom build, modification, and dripping). The final sample included 168 videos. Results: Videos were 1 to 108 min long (median 9.55). Presenters were largely male (117/168, 69.6%), white (94/168, 56.0%), and older than 25 years (94/168, 56.0%). Most videos gave how to instructions (148/168, 88.1%), but few offered warnings (30/168, 17.9%) or mentioned commercial alternatives to modifications they presented (16/168, 9.5%). The ENDS devices most often featured were drippers (63/168, 37.5%) and refillable tanks (37/168, 22.0%). The most often modified ENDS components were coils (82/168, 48.8%) and e-liquids (34/168, 20.2%), which included adding other substances, such as cannabis, to the e-liquids (6/168, 3.6%). Most videos portrayed ENDS modifications positively (106/168, 63.1% positive; 60/168, 35.7% neutral; and 2/168, 1.2% negative) and were either neutral or positive in their overall portrayal of ENDS devices (78/168, 46.4% positive; 89/168, 53.0% neutral; and 1/168, 0.6% negative). Conclusions: This study identified several concerning trends in popular YouTube videos on ENDS modifications, including lack of warnings, the addition of marijuana derivatives to e-liquids, and the positive portrayal of ENDS devices and modifications. By identifying the types of modifications (coil and e-liquid being the most prevalent), this study sets an agenda for research on the effects of modifications.

  • Source: Pixabay; Copyright: Engin_Akyurt; URL:; License: Licensed by JMIR.

    Digital Health Equity and COVID-19: The Innovation Curve Cannot Reinforce the Social Gradient of Health


    Digital health innovations have been rapidly implemented and scaled to provide solutions to health delivery challenges posed by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. This has provided people with ongoing access to vital health services while minimizing their potential exposure to infection and allowing them to maintain social distancing. However, these solutions may have unintended consequences for health equity. Poverty, lack of access to digital health, poor engagement with digital health for some communities, and barriers to digital health literacy are some factors that can contribute to poor health outcomes. We present the Digital Health Equity Framework, which can be used to consider health equity factors. Along with person-centered care, digital health equity should be incorporated into health provider training and should be championed at the individual, institutional, and social levels. Important future directions will be to develop measurement-based approaches to digital health equity and to use these findings to further validate and refine this model.

  • Source: Image created by the Authors; Copyright: The Authors; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Physiological State and Learning Ability of Students in Normal and Virtual Reality Conditions: Complexity-Based Analysis


    Background: Education and learning are the most important goals of all universities. For this purpose, lecturers use various tools to grab the attention of students and improve their learning ability. Virtual reality refers to the subjective sensory experience of being immersed in a computer-mediated world, and has recently been implemented in learning environments. Objective: The aim of this study was to analyze the effect of a virtual reality condition on students’ learning ability and physiological state. Methods: Students were shown 6 sets of videos (3 videos in a two-dimensional condition and 3 videos in a three-dimensional condition), and their learning ability was analyzed based on a subsequent questionnaire. In addition, we analyzed the reaction of the brain and facial muscles of the students during both the two-dimensional and three-dimensional viewing conditions and used fractal theory to investigate their attention to the videos. Results: The learning ability of students was increased in the three-dimensional condition compared to that in the two-dimensional condition. In addition, analysis of physiological signals showed that students paid more attention to the three-dimensional videos. Conclusions: A virtual reality condition has a greater effect on enhancing the learning ability of students. The analytical approach of this study can be further extended to evaluate other physiological signals of subjects in a virtual reality condition.

  • A woman was taken HPV vaccine and safety of vaccination should be monitored for long-time. Source: Flickr; Copyright: VCU Capital News Service / Art Writ; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution + Noncommercial + ShareAlike (CC-BY-NC-SA).

    Active Surveillance of Adverse Events Following Human Papillomavirus Vaccination: Feasibility Pilot Study Based on the Regional Health Care Information...


    Background: Comprehensive safety data for vaccines from post-licensure surveillance, especially active surveillance, could guide administrations and individuals to make reasonable decisions on vaccination. Therefore, we designed a pilot study to assess the capability of a regional health care information platform to actively monitor the safety of a newly licensed vaccine. Objective: This study aimed to conduct active surveillance of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine safety based on this information platform. Methods: In 2017, one of China’s most mature information platforms with superior data linkage was selected. A structured questionnaire and open-ended interview guidelines were developed to investigate the feasibility of active surveillance following HPV vaccination using the regional health care information platform in Ningbo. The questionnaire was sent to participants via email, and a face-to-face interview was conducted to confirm details or resolve discrepancies. Results: Five databases that could be considered essential to active surveillance of vaccine safety were integrated into the platform starting in 2015. Except for residents' health records, which had a coverage rate of 87%, the data sources covered more than 95% of the records that were documented in Ningbo. All the data could be inherently linked using the national identity card. There were 19,328 women who received the HPV vaccine, and 37,988 doses were administered in 2017 and 2018. Women aged 30-40 years accounted for the largest proportion. Quadrivalent vaccination accounted for 73.1% of total vaccination, a much higher proportion than that of bivalent vaccination. Of the first doses, 60 (60/19,328, 0.31%) occurred outside Ningbo. There were no missing data for vaccination-relevant variables, such as identity card, vaccine name, vaccination doses, vaccination date, and manufacturer. ICD-10 coding could be used to identify 9,180 cases using a predefined list of the outcomes of interest, and 1.88% of these cases were missing the identity card. During the 90 days following HPV vaccination, 4 incident cases were found through the linked vaccination history and electronic medical records. The combined incident rate of rheumatoid arthritis, optic neuritis, and Henoch-Schonlein purpura was 8.84/100,000 doses of bivalent HPV, and the incidence rate of rheumatoid arthritis was 3.75/100,000 doses of quadrivalent HPV. Conclusions: This study presents an available approach to initiate an active surveillance system for adverse events following HPV vaccination, based on a regional health care information platform in China. An extended observation period or the inclusion of additional functional sites is warranted to conduct future hypothesis-generating and hypothesis-confirming studies for vaccine safety concerns.

  • Source: Freepik; Copyright: tirachardz; URL:; License: Licensed by JMIR.

    The Role of Virtual Reality in Improving Health Outcomes for Community-Dwelling Older Adults: Systematic Review


    Background: Virtual reality (VR) delivered through immersive headsets creates an opportunity to deliver interventions to improve physical, mental, and psychosocial health outcomes. VR app studies with older adults have primarily focused on rehabilitation and physical function including gait, balance, fall prevention, pain management, and cognition. Several systematic reviews have previously been conducted, but much of the extant literature is focused on rehabilitation or other institutional settings, and little is known about the effectiveness of VR apps using immersive headsets to target health outcomes among community-dwelling older adults. Objective: The objective of this review was to evaluate the effectiveness of VR apps delivered using commercially available immersive headsets to improve physical, mental, or psychosocial health outcomes in community-dwelling older adults. Methods: Peer-reviewed publications that included community-dwelling older adults aged ≥60 years residing in residential aged care settings and nursing homes were included. This systematic review was conducted in accordance with the Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI) methodology for systematic reviews of effectiveness evidence. The title of this review was registered with JBI, and the systematic review protocol was registered with the International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews. Results: In total, 7 studies that specifically included community-dwelling older adults were included in this review. VR apps using a head-mounted display led to improvements in a number of health outcomes, including pain management, posture, cognitive functioning specifically related to Alzheimer disease, and a decreased risk of falls. A total of 6 studies reported a statistically significant difference post VR intervention, and 1 study reported an improvement in cognitive function to reduce navigational errors. Only one study reported on the usability and acceptability of the interventions delivered through VR. While one study used a distraction mechanism for pain management, none of the studies used gaming technology to promote enjoyment. Conclusions: Interventions to improve health outcomes through VR have demonstrated potential; however, the ability to synthesize findings by primary outcome for the older adult population is not possible. A number of factors, especially related to frailty, usability, and acceptability, also need to be explored before more substantial recommendations on the effectiveness of VR interventions for older adults can be made. Trial Registration: PROSPERO CRD42019143504;

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  • Validation of algorithms to identify organ transplant recipients from the electronic health record: Cohort Study

    Date Submitted: Jan 28, 2020

    Open Peer Review Period: Jun 1, 2020 - Aug 1, 2020

    Background: Studies involving organ transplant recipients (OTR) are often limited to the variables collected in the national Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients database. The electronic heal...

    Background: Studies involving organ transplant recipients (OTR) are often limited to the variables collected in the national Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients database. The electronic health record (EHR) contains additional variables that can augment this data source if OTR can be identified accurately. Objective: To develop methods to identify OTR from the EHR. Methods: We used Vanderbilt’s de-identified version of its EHR database that contains nearly 3 million subjects to develop algorithms to identify organ transplant recipients. We identified all 19,821 individuals with at least one ICD or CPT code for organ transplantation. We performed chart review on 1,250 randomly-selected individuals to determine transplant status. We constructed multiple machine learning models to calculate positive predictive values and sensitivity for combinations of codes. Results: Of the 1,250 reviewed patient charts, 740 were transplant recipients, while 498 had no record of a transplant, and 12 were equivocal. Most patients with only one or two transplant codes did not have a transplant. The most common reasons for being labeled a non-transplant patient were a lack of data (n = 222, 44.2%), or the patient being evaluated for an organ transplant (n = 159, 31.7%). The most robust model was a random forest that identified organ transplant recipients with overall 97% PPV and 94% sensitivity. Conclusions: Electronic health records (EHR) linked to biobanks are increasingly used to conduct large-scale studies, but have not been well-utilized in organ transplantation research. We present validated methods for identifying OTR from the EHR that will enable the use of the full spectrum of clinical data in transplant research. Using several different methods, we were able to identify transplant cases with high accuracy using ICD and CPT codes.

  • A Comprehensive Guide to Virtual Care

    Date Submitted: May 28, 2020

    Open Peer Review Period: May 28, 2020 - Jul 23, 2020

    Virtual Care, using video conferencing technology to connect with patients, has become critical in providing continuing care for patients in the contemporary COVID-19 pandemic. Virtual care is now ado...

    Virtual Care, using video conferencing technology to connect with patients, has become critical in providing continuing care for patients in the contemporary COVID-19 pandemic. Virtual care is now adopted by healthcare providers across the spectrum, including physicians, residents, nurse practitioners, nurses, and allied health. Virtual care is novel and nuanced when compared to in-person care. Most of the health care providers that are delivering or expected to deliver virtual care have little to no prior experience. The nuances with virtual care involve regulatory standards, platforms, technology and troubleshooting, patient selection, etiquette, and workflow that all comprise critical points to the provision of healthcare. It is important that high quality and professional virtual care is delivered consistently to give patients the trust they need to continue following up in these trying times. We have adopted virtual care in our clinical practice for over two years now. In partnership with Canada Health Infoway, we have put together a primer for virtual care that can serve as a guide for any health care provider in Canada and globally, with the goal of providing seamless transitions between in-person and virtual care.

  • “Smartphone apps are cool, but do they help me?” A thematic analysis of adolescents’ expectations on apps to manage Nonsuicidal Self-injury

    Date Submitted: May 28, 2020

    Open Peer Review Period: May 28, 2020 - Jun 9, 2020

    Background: Nonsuicidal Self-injury (NSSI) is a major mental health problem associated with negative psychosocial outcomes and it most often starts in early adolescence. Although recent technology-ena...

    Background: Nonsuicidal Self-injury (NSSI) is a major mental health problem associated with negative psychosocial outcomes and it most often starts in early adolescence. Although recent technology-enabled interventions show promise in managing NSSI, they rarely consider expectations of their intended target group. Objective: This study explored patients’ experiences, needs and preferences about future digital interventions that are delivered through smartphones. Methods: We interviewed fifteen young females aged 12-18 who engaged in NSSI in the past year and were in contact with mental health services. The data was analysed following a thematic analysis approach and the findings were discussed in one follow up interview to include member checking. Results: This study identified two main themes that represent shared patterns of meaning across the interviews. The first theme Experiences of NSSI depicts the experiences and needs of young people with NSSI. The second theme App in Context portrays preferences of young people about smartphone interventions and includes adolescents’ perspectives on how technology can improve or hinder engaging with these interventions. Conclusions: Young people show interest in using smartphone interventions if they recognize them as helpful, relevant for their life situation and easy to use. The authors adopt these study findings to discuss how the future NSSI and mental health interventions could be more engaging through taking into account three contexts in which mental health interventions are embedded (mental health condition, person using the intervention, and technology-related factors). The cooperation between mental health experts, human computer interaction professionals and people with lived experience is vital to advance the development of digital resources for mental health and NSSI management.

  • Reaching collective immunity for COVID-19: an estimate with a heterogeneous model based on the data for Italy

    Date Submitted: May 26, 2020

    Open Peer Review Period: May 25, 2020 - Jun 4, 2020

    Background: At the current stage of COVID-19 pandemic, forecasts become particularly important regarding the possibility that the total incidence could reach the level where the disease stops spreadin...

    Background: At the current stage of COVID-19 pandemic, forecasts become particularly important regarding the possibility that the total incidence could reach the level where the disease stops spreading because a considerable portion of the population has become immune and collective immunity could be reached. Such forecasts are valuable because the currently undertaken restrictive measures prevent mass morbidity but do not result in the development of a robust collective immunity. Thus, in the absence of efficient vaccines and medical treatments, lifting restrictive measures carries the risk that a second wave of the epidemic could occur. Objective: The objective of this paper was to develop a heterogeneous model of COVID-19 dynamics. Methods: The heterogeneous model of COVID-19 dynamics accounted for the differences in the infection risk across subpopulations, particularly the age-depended susceptibility to the disease. Based on this model, an equation for the minimal number of infections was calculated as a condition for the epidemic to start declining. The basic reproductive number of 2.5 was used for the disease spread without restrictions. The model was applied to COVID-19 data from Italy. Results: We found that the heterogeneous model of epidemic dynamics yielded a lower proportion, compared to a homogeneous model, for the minimal incidence needed for the epidemic to stop. When applied to the data for Italy, the model yielded a more optimistic assessment of the minimum total incidence needed to reach collective immunity: 43% versus 60% estimated with a homogeneous model. Conclusions: Because of the high heterogeneity of COVID-19 infection risk across the different age groups, with a higher susceptibility for the elderly, homogeneous models overestimate the level of collective immunity needed for the disease to stop spreading. This inaccuracy can be corrected by the homogeneous model introduced here. To improve the estimate even further additional factors should be considered that contribute to heterogeneity, including social and professional activity, gender and individual resistance to the pathogen. Clinical Trial: This is a modeling study; no trial was conducted.

  • Global Infodemiology of COVID-19: Focus on Google web searches and Instagram hashtags

    Date Submitted: May 25, 2020

    Open Peer Review Period: May 25, 2020 - Jul 20, 2020

    Background: Several studies have been conducted using 'infodemiological' methods in COVID-19 research, but studies focusing to examine the extent of infodemic monikers (misinformation) on the internet...

    Background: Several studies have been conducted using 'infodemiological' methods in COVID-19 research, but studies focusing to examine the extent of infodemic monikers (misinformation) on the internet is very limited. Objective: We aimed to investigate the internet search behavior related to COVID-19 and the extent of infodemic monikers circulating in Google and Instagram during the pandemic period in the world. Methods: Using Google Trends and Instagram hashtags (#), we explored the internet search activities and behaviors related to COVID-19 pandemic all over the world from February 20, 2020, to May 06, 2020. Briefly, we investigated the names used to identify the virus, health and risk perception, life during the lockdown, and also information related to the adoption of infodemic monikers related to COVID-19. We computed the average peak volume (APC) with a 95% confidence interval (CI) during the study period. Results: The top five COVID-19 related terms used in Google searches were "coronavirus", "corona", "COVID", "virus", "corona virus", and "COVID-19". Countries with a higher number of COVID-19 cases have greater Google searches queries related to COVID-19. "coronavirus ozone", "coronavirus laboratory", "coronavirus 5G", "coronavirus conspiracy" and "coronavirus bill gates" are widely circulated infodemic monikers on the internet. Searches related to 'tips and cures' to COVID-19 spiked when the US president suggested an unproven drug as a 'miracle cure' and suggested injecting disinfectant to treat COVID-19. Around two-thirds (66.1%) of the Instagram users use "COVID-19", and "coronavirus" hashtags to disperse the information related to COVID-19. Conclusions: Globally, there is a growing interest in COVID-19 and a large number of infodemic monikers are circulating on the internet. Therefore, mass media regulators and health organizers should be vigilant to diminish the infodemic monikers dispersing on the internet and also should take serious actions against those spreading misinformation in social media.

  • Systematic and Statistical Review of COVID19 Treatment Trials

    Date Submitted: May 25, 2020

    Open Peer Review Period: May 25, 2020 - Jul 20, 2020

    Background: The COVID-19 pandemic produced multiple trials trying to promote certain treatments. However, the amount of studies having human controlled or randomized trials is scarce despite being im...

    Background: The COVID-19 pandemic produced multiple trials trying to promote certain treatments. However, the amount of studies having human controlled or randomized trials is scarce despite being important. Objective: The following systematic review and meta-analysis compiles the current data regarding human controlled COVID-19 treatment trials. Methods: An electronic search of the literature compiled studies pertaining to human controlled treatment trials with COVID-19. Medications assessed included lopinavir/ritonavir, arbidol, hydroxychloroquine, favipiravir, and heparin. Statistical analyzes were performed for common viral clearance endpoints whenever possible. Results: Lopinavir/ritonavir showed no significant effect on viral clearance for COVID-19 cases (OR 0.95 [95% CI 0.50-1.83]). Hydroxychloroquine also showed no significant effect on COVID-19 viral clearance rates (OR 2.16 [95% CI 0.80-5.84]). Arbidol showed no seven-day (OR 1.63 [95% CI 0.76-3.50]) or 14-day viral (OR 5.37 [95% CI 0.35-83.30]) clearance difference compared to lopinavir/ritonavir. Review of literature showed no significant clinical improvement with lopinavir/ritonavir, arbidol, hydroxychloroquine, or remdesivir. Favipiravir showed quicker symptom improvement compared to lopinavir/ritonavir and arbidol. Heparin showed improvement with severe COVID-19 cases. Conclusions: Current medications do not show significant effect on COVID-19 viral clearance rates. Favipiravir shows favorable results compared to other tested medications. Heparin shows benefit for severe cases of COVID-19.