Mobile health app can improve HPV vaccine uptake in adolescents

More than 90 percent of human papillomavirus (HPV) -related cancers could be prevented by broad uptake of the HPV vaccine. Still, vaccine use in the United States is lagging behind public health goals.

In an article in JMIR nursing, researchers explain how they applied user-centered design principles to develop a mobile health app (mhealth) to improve the uptake of HPV vaccines and how its use was evaluated with parent and parent-adolescent dyads.

The app – Vaccipack – focuses exclusively on vaccines for adolescents and focuses on the main views of parents regarding HPV vaccines. The mhealth app is designed for parents (to use and share with their adolescents) to promote the initiation and completion of the HPV vaccine line in their adolescent children.

The University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing (Penn Nursing) study evaluated acceptability and intention to use the app. It was found that the intention to use the app was high among both parents and adolescents after they were introduced to the app and given time to explore it.

Theory-based content design, while standard practice in behavioral intervention research, is not a typical app developer approach. “

Anne M. Teitelman, PhD, FNP-BC, FAANP, FAAN, Associate Professor Emerita of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing

“Evaluation of acceptability and likely use, as we present here, is an important preparatory step for developing apps and designing behavioral interventions that are most likely to deliver the desired health outcome.” Teitelman is the lead researcher on the study and one of the developers of the app.


University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing

Journal reference:

Teitelman, AM, et al. (2020) Vaccipack, a mobile app to promote human papillomavirus vaccine uptake in adolescents 11 to 14 years old: development and utility research.
JMIR nursing.

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