Design Considerations in the Development of App-Based Oral Anticancer Medication Management Systems: a Qualitative Evaluation of Pharmacists’ and Patients’ Perspectives

  • Eskinder Eshetu Ali
  • Sharlene Si Ling Chan
  • Huan Yu Poh
  • Yosua Amadeus Susanto
  • Thendral Suganya
  • Jo Lene Leow
  • Chee Khiang Pang
  • Lita Chew
  • Kevin Yi-Lwern YapEmail author
Mobile & Wireless Health
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Mobile & Wireless Health


Smartphone apps can potentially help in enhancing oral anticancer medication (OAM) adherence. Patient adoption and efficacy of such apps depends on inclusion of user-centred and evidence-based features. The objective of this study was to identify important design considerations from the perspectives of patients taking OAMs, caregivers and oncology pharmacists. The study employed a qualitative study design. Data were collected using in-depth interviews with patients (n = 15), caregivers (n = 3) and pharmacists (n = 16). Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim and inductive thematic analysis approach was used in data analysis. Monitoring medication-related problems, medication information, replacement of or integration with current systems and accessibility of app content on devices other than smartphones were the key themes identified in the analysis. Flexible input methods for monitored data, glanceability of monitored reports/information, near real-time adherence enhancing and symptom management interventions and customisable reminder options were design considerations identified under the monitoring medication-related problems theme. Participants suggested the provision of focused and easily understandable medication information with a potential for personalisation. Integration of app-based adherence systems with patients’ electronic medical records with added mechanisms for alerts in the dispensing system was also suggested as a key design requirement to improve quality of patient care and facilitate adoption by clinicians. Finally, smartphones were the most favoured platform with optional accessibility of app content on other devices. In conclusion, important design considerations were identified through a user-centred design approach. The findings will help developers and clinicians in the design of new app-based systems and evaluation of existing ones.


Adherence apps Medication adherence User-centred design Design requirement Oral anticancer medication 



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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eskinder Eshetu Ali
    • 1
  • Sharlene Si Ling Chan
    • 1
  • Huan Yu Poh
    • 2
  • Yosua Amadeus Susanto
    • 2
  • Thendral Suganya
    • 1
  • Jo Lene Leow
    • 3
  • Chee Khiang Pang
    • 2
    • 4
  • Lita Chew
    • 1
    • 3
  • Kevin Yi-Lwern Yap
    • 5
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Pharmacy, Faculty of ScienceNational University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore
  2. 2.Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Faculty of EngineeringNational University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore
  3. 3.Department of PharmacyNational Cancer Centre SingaporeSingaporeSingapore
  4. 4.Engineering ClusterSingapore Institute of TechnologySingaporeSingapore
  5. 5.Department of Public Health, School of Psychology and Public HealthLa Trobe UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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