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Nature Research, npj Digital Medicine, 1(5), 2022

DOI: 10.1038/s41746-022-00624-7



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A systematic review of engagement reporting in remote measurement studies for health symptom tracking

This paper is made freely available by the publisher.
This paper is made freely available by the publisher.

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AbstractRemote Measurement Technologies (RMTs) could revolutionise management of chronic health conditions by providing real-time symptom tracking. However, the promise of RMTs relies on user engagement, which at present is variably reported in the field. This review aimed to synthesise the RMT literature to identify how and to what extent engagement is defined, measured, and reported, and to present recommendations for the standardisation of future work. Seven databases (Embase, MEDLINE and PsycINFO (via Ovid), PubMed, IEEE Xplore, Web of Science, and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials) were searched in July 2020 for papers using RMT apps for symptom monitoring in adults with a health condition, prompting users to track at least three times during the study period. Data were synthesised using critical interpretive synthesis. A total of 76 papers met the inclusion criteria. Sixty five percent of papers did not include a definition of engagement. Thirty five percent included both a definition and measurement of engagement. Four synthetic constructs were developed for measuring engagement: (i) engagement with the research protocol, (ii) objective RMT engagement, (iii) subjective RMT engagement, and (iv) interactions between objective and subjective RMT engagement. The field is currently impeded by incoherent measures and a lack of consideration for engagement definitions. A process for implementing the reporting of engagement in study design is presented, alongside a framework for definition and measurement options available. Future work should consider engagement with RMTs as distinct from the wider eHealth literature, and measure objective versus subjective RMT engagement.Registration: This review has been registered on PROSPERO [CRD42020192652].