Acceptability of a Mobile Phone App for Measuring Time Use in Breast Cancer Survivors (Life in a Day): Mixed-Methods Study.

Author(s): Ainsworth MC,  Pekmezi D,  Bowles H,  Ehlers D,  McAuley E,  Courneya KS,  Rogers LQ

Journal: JMIR Cancer

Date: 2018 May 14

Major Program(s) or Research Group(s): BRG

PubMed ID: 29759953

PMC ID: PMC5972204

Abstract: BACKGROUND: Advancements in mobile technology allow innovative data collection techniques such as measuring time use (ie, how individuals structure their time) for the purpose of improving health behavior change interventions. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to examine the acceptability of a 5-day trial of the Life in a Day mobile phone app measuring time use in breast cancer survivors to advance technology-based measurement of time use. METHODS: Acceptability data were collected from participants (N=40; 100% response rate) using a self-administered survey after 5 days of Life in a Day use. RESULTS: Overall, participants had a mean age of 55 years (SD 8) and completed 16 years of school (SD 2). Participants generally agreed that learning to use Life in a Day was easy (83%, 33/40) and would prefer to log activities using Life in a Day over paper-and-pencil diary (73%, 29/40). A slight majority felt that completing Life in a Day for 5 consecutive days was not too much (60%, 24/40) or overly time-consuming (68%, 27/40). Life in a Day was rated as easy to read (88%, 35/40) and navigate (70%, 32/40). Participants also agreed that it was easy to log activities using the activity timer at the start and end of an activity (90%, 35/39). Only 13% (5/40) downloaded the app on their personal phone, whereas 63% (19/30) of the remaining participants would have preferred to use their personal phone. Overall, 77% (30/39) of participants felt that the Life in a Day app was good or very good. Those who agreed that it was easy to edit activities were significantly more likely to be younger when compared with those who disagreed (mean 53 vs 58 years, P=.04). Similarly, those who agreed that it was easy to remember to log activities were more likely to be younger (mean 52 vs 60 years, P<.001). Qualitative coding of 2 open-ended survey items yielded 3 common themes for Life in a Day improvement (ie, convenience, user interface, and reminders). CONCLUSIONS: A mobile phone app is an acceptable time-use measurement modality. Improving convenience, user interface, and memory prompts while addressing the needs of older participants is needed to enhance app utility. TRIAL REGISTRATION: NCT00929617; (Archived by WebCite at