The development of a mobile health app for breast cancer self-management support in Taiwan: Design thinking approach

I. Ching Hou*, Min Fang Lan, Shan Hsiang Shen, Pei Yu Tsai, King Jen Chang, Hao Chih Tai, Ay Jen Tsai, Polun Chang, Tze Fang Wang, Shuh Jen Sheu, Patricia C. Dykes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background: Evidence has shown that breast cancer self-management support from mobile health (mHealth) apps can improve the quality of life of survivors. Although many breast cancer self-management support apps exist, few papers have documented the procedure for the development of a user-friendly app from the patient’s perspective. Objective: This study aimed to investigate the information needs of Taiwanese women with breast cancer to inform the development of a self-management support mHealth app. Methods: A 5-step design thinking approach, comprising empathy, define, ideate, prototype, and test steps, was used in the focus groups and individual interviews conducted to collect information on the requirements and expectations of Taiwanese women with breast cancer with respect to the app. A thematic analysis was used to identify information needs. Results: A total of 8 major themes including treatment, physical activity, diet, emotional support, health records, social resources, experience sharing, and expert consultation were identified. Minor themes included the desire to use the app under professional supervision and a trustworthy app manager to ensure the credibility of information. Conclusions: The strengths of the design thinking approach were user-centered design and cultural sensitivity. The results retrieved from each step contributed to the development of the app and reduction of the gap between end users and developers. An mHealth app that addresses these 8 main themes can facilitate disease self-management for Taiwanese women with breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere15780
JournalJMIR mHealth and uHealth
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2020


  • Breast cancer
  • Design thinking
  • Mobile health application
  • Self-management


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