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In BMC musculoskeletal disorders

BACKGROUND : This paper describes (the development of) an eHealth tool (dr. Bart app) to enhance self-management and to optimize non-surgical health care utilization in patients with knee and/or hip osteoarthritis (OA) and presents a study aiming 1) to study the effectiveness of the dr. Bart app on health care use 2) to explore differences in use, usability and the clinical outcomes of the dr. Bart app between the Netherlands and Germany.

METHODS : The dr. Bart app is a fully automated eHealth application and is based on the Fogg model for behavioural change, augmented with reminders, rewards and self-monitoring to reinforce app engagement and health behaviour. The dr. Bart app propose goals to a healthier lifestyle based on machine learning techniques fed by data collected in a personal profile and choosing behaviour of the app user. Patients ≥50 years with self-reported knee and/or hip OA will be eligible to participate. Participants will be recruited in the community through advertisements in local newspapers and campaigns on social media. This protocol presents a study with three arms, aiming to include 161 patients in each arm. In the Netherlands, patients are randomly allocated to usual care or dr. Bart app and in Germany all patients receive the dr. Bart app. The primary outcome of the first research question is the number of self-reported consultations in secondary health care. The primary outcome of the second research question (comparison between the Netherlands and Germany) is self-management behaviour assessed by the patient activation measure (PAM-13) questionnaire. Secondary outcomes are costs, health-related quality of life, physical functioning and activity, pain, use and usability of the dr. Bart app. Data will be collected through three online questionnaires (at baseline and after 3 and 6 months after inclusion).

DISCUSSION : This study will gain insight into the effectiveness of the dr. Bart app in the (conservative) treatment of patients with knee and/or hip OA and differences in the use and usability of the dr. Bart app between the Netherlands and Germany.

TRIAL REGISTRATION : Dutch Trial Register (Trial Number NTR6693 / NL6505 ). Registration date: 4 September 2017.

Pelle Tim, Bevers Karen, van der Palen Job, van den Hoogen Frank H J, van den Ende Cornelia H M


Behavioural change techniques, Chronic disease, Knee and/or hip, Machine learning, OA, Osteoarthritis, eHealth