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Currently submitted to: Journal of Medical Internet Research

Date Submitted: May 12, 2019
Open Peer Review Period: May 15, 2019 - Jul 10, 2019
(currently open for review)

Development of “My Retainers” mobile application: Triangulation of two qualitative methods

  • Dalya Al-Moghrabi; 
  • Fiorella Beatriz Colonio-Salazar; 
  • Ama Johal; 
  • Padhraig Seamus Fleming



Diligent wear of removable orthodontic retainers requires prolonged compliance and is invariably necessary to preserve optimal results. Patient-informed behaviour-change interventions represent a promising and novel means of enhancing compliance with retainer wear.


To describe the development of a patient-informed mobile application aimed to enhance retainer wear.


Four aspects were considered during mobile application development: participant preferences; analysis of publicly-available retainer-related posts on Twitter; available interventions; and behaviour-change theories. Audio-recorded one-to-one interviews were conducted with a subset of participants to account for patient preferences in terms of features, design and content. A criterion-based purposive sample of participants wearing vacuum-formed retainers for at least 4 years was used. Thematic analysis of transcribed data was undertaken.


The need to facilitate communication with the treating clinician, responsive reminder and tracking systems, and access to useful and engaging written and visual information, in addition to other personalised and interactive features were considered important. Concerns related to retainer wear shared on Twitter informed an exhaustive list of frequently-asked questions. Application features were mapped to relevant theoretical constructs. Determinants of existing behavioural change theories were used to link application features to expected outcomes.


A holistic process involving both patient and professional input can be useful in informing the development of mobile applications. The orthodontic application (“My Retainers”) will undergo further scrutiny in relation to its effectiveness in inducing behavioural change and concerning patient experiences prior to finalisation.


Please cite as:

Al-Moghrabi D, Colonio-Salazar FB, Johal A, Fleming PS

Development of “My Retainers” mobile application: Triangulation of two qualitative methods

JMIR Preprints. 12/05/2019:14687

DOI: 10.2196/preprints.14687


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