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Currently submitted to: Journal of Medical Internet Research

Date Submitted: Sep 11, 2020
Open Peer Review Period: Sep 11, 2020 - Nov 6, 2020
(currently open for review)

Warning: This is an author submission that is not peer-reviewed or edited. Preprints - unless they show as "accepted" - should not be relied on to guide clinical practice or health-related behavior and should not be reported in news media as established information.

Experience Sampling and Programmed Intervention Method and System for Planning, Authoring, and Deploying mHealth Interventions: Design and Cases Report

  • Bruna Carolina Rodrigues Cunha; 
  • Kamila Rios Da Hora Rodrigues; 
  • Izabela Zaine; 
  • Elias Adriano Nogueira Silva; 
  • Caio César Viel; 
  • Maria Da Graça Campos Pimentel; 



Health professionals initiating mHealth interventions may choose to adapt apps designed for other activities (eg, peer-to-peer communication) or to employ purpose-build apps specialized on the required intervention, or to exploit apps based on methods such as the Experience Sampling Method (ESM). An alternative approach would be professionals to create their own apps. While ESM-based methods offer important guidance, current systems do not expose their design at a level that promotes replicating, specializing, or extending their contributions. Thus, a two-fold solution is required: a method that directs specialists in planning a mHealth Intervention Program themselves, and a model that guides specialists in adopting existing solutions at the same time that advises software developers on building new ones.


The main objectives of this study are to design the Experience Sampling and Programmed Intervention Method (ESPIM), formulated towards supporting specialists in deploying mHealth interventions, and the ESPIM model, that guides health specialists in adopting existing solutions and advises software developers on how to build new ones. Another goal is to conceive and implement a software platform allowing specialists to be users who actually plan, create, and deploy interventions (ESPIM system).


We conducted the design and evaluation of the ESPIM method and model alongside a software system comprising integrated web and mobile applications. A participatory design approach with stakeholders included early software prototype, pre-design interviews with 12 health specialists, iterative design sustained by the software as instance of the method's conceptual model, support to 8 real case studies, and post-design interviews.


The Experience Sampling and Programmed Intervention Method comprises (a) a list of requirements for mHealth experience sampling and intervention-based methods and systems, (b) a 4-dimension planning framework, (c) a 7-step-based process, and (d) an Ontology-based Conceptual Model. The ESPIM system encompasses web and mobile apps. Eight long-term case studies, involving professionals in Psychology, Gerontology, Computer Science, Speech Therapy and Occupational Therapy, show that the method allowed specialists to be actual users who plan, create, and deploy interventions via the associated system. Specialists’ target-users were parents of children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, older persons, graduate and undergraduate students, children (age 8-12), and caregivers for older persons. The specialists reported being able to create and conduct their own studies without modifying their original design. A qualitative evaluation of the Ontology-based Conceptual Model showed its compliance to the functional requirements elicited.


The ESPIM method succeeds in supporting specialists in planning, authoring, and deploying mobile-based intervention programs when employed via a software system designed and implemented according to its conceptual model. The ESPIM Ontology-based Conceptual Model exposes the design of systems involving active or passive sampling interventions. Such exposure supports the evaluation, implementation, adaptation, or extension of new or existing systems.


Please cite as:

Cunha BCR, Rodrigues KRDH, Zaine I, Silva EAN, Viel CC, Pimentel MDGC

Experience Sampling and Programmed Intervention Method and System for Planning, Authoring, and Deploying mHealth Interventions: Design and Cases Report

JMIR Preprints. 11/09/2020:24278

DOI: 10.2196/preprints.24278


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