J Pediatr Adolesc Gynecol. 2017 Nov 18. pii: S1083-3188(17)30511-9.

MyLARC: a theory-based interactive smartphone app to support adolescents' use of long-acting reversible contraception

Timmons SE, Shakibnia EB, Gold MA and Garbers S


Study objective: Develop and test the feasibility of a Health Belief Model theory-based interactive smartphone application (app) aimed at providing information and support to adolescents with long-acting reversible contraception (LARC).

Design, setting, participants, interventions: Using a mixed-method design, we conducted 30 in-person interviews with adolescent LARC users who were enrolled in School-Based Health Centers (SBHCs) in New York City. Interviews were conducted in two phases: during Phase 1, 12 participants viewed a pilot version of the app (MyLARC); during Phase 2, 18 additional participants interacted with an expanded version of the app. Phase 2 participants downloaded MyLARC onto their smartphone and app usage was tracked.

Main outcome measure(s): Participants' responses to the in-person interviews and data usage of MyLARC from Phase 2 were used to determine the feasibility and acceptability of using MyLARC to support young women's satisfaction and continuation of LARC methods.

Results: Non-educational games were recommended as an approach to provide information to adolescents in an engaging way, as well as educational graphics and visually appealing content. Data tracking of MyLARC usage among Phase 2 participants revealed a total of 67 unique logins to the app with 18 average page visits per unique login. The total amount of times MyLARC was opened was 1,197. The most frequented features were 'Info about LARC' (95 unique visits) and 'Games' (80 unique plays).

Conclusion: A theory-based interactive smartphone app with LARC-specific information and support is an appropriate and appealing medium to provide information and support to adolescents using LARC. Games represented a novel opportunity to engage adolescents with health information.

Comment: As we all know, adolescents nowadays are often fixated on their cell phones. A smartphone app appears to be a great way to educate these young women and to keep them informed about and compliant with their contraception (HMV)