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Original article
The alcohol tracker application: an initial evaluation of user preferences
  1. Melvyn W B Zhang1,2,
  2. John Ward2,3,
  3. John J B Ying2,4,
  4. Fang Pan2,5,
  5. Roger C M Ho2,6
  1. 1National Addictions Management Service (NAMS), Institute of Mental Health, Singapore
  2. 2E-Health Research Consortium
  3. 3University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  4. 4Institute of Mental Health, Singapore, Singapore
  5. 5Shandong University, Shandong, China
  6. 6Department of Psychological Medicine, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore (NUS)
  1. Correspondence to Dr Melvyn Zhang, Level 9, Department of Psychological Medicine, National University Healthcare Systems (NUHS) Tower Block, 5 Lower Kent Ridge Road, Singapore 119074, Singapore; melvynzhangweibin{at}gmail.com

Abstract

Background The prevalence of at-risk drinking and alcohol use disorders is increasing. Advances in technology have resulted in numerous smartphone applications for this disorder. However, there are still concerns about the evidence base of previously developed alcohol applications.

Objective The following study aims to illustrate how the authors have made use of innovative methodologies to overcome the issues relating to the accuracy of tracking the amount of alcohol one has consumed; it also aims to determine user perceptions about the innovative tracker and various other features of an alcohol self-management application among a group of individuals from the general population of a developed country (Canada).

Methodology A native alcohol self-management application was developed. In order to determine user perspectives towards this new innovative application, the authors took advantage and made use of crowdsourcing to acquire user perspectives.

Results Our results showed that smartphone ownership is highest among the age group of 35–44 years (91%) and lowest for those aged between 55 and 64 (58%). Our analysis also showed that 25–34-year-olds and 35–44-year-olds drink more frequently than the other groups. Results suggest that notification and information were the two most useful functions, with psychotherapy expected to be the least useful. Females indicated that notification service was the most useful function, while males preferred the information component.

Conclusions This study has demonstrated how the authors have made use of innovative technologies to overcome the existing concerns pertaining to the utilisation of the blood alcohol concentration levels as a tracker. In addition, the authors have managed to highlight user preferences with regard to an alcohol application.

  • Medical Apps
  • mHealth
  • Psychiatry

This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

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