Background: A myriad of Web-based applications on self-management have been developed, but few focus on older people. In the face of global aging, older people form an important target population for cardiovascular prevention. This article describes the full development of an interactive Internet platform for older people, which was designed for the Healthy Ageing Through Internet Counselling in the Elderly (HATICE) study. We provide recommendations to design senior-friendly Web-based applications for a new approach to multicomponent cardiovascular prevention.
Methods: The development of the platform followed five phases: (1) conceptual framework; (2) platform concept and functional design; (3) platform building (software and content); (4) testing and pilot study; and (5) final product.
Results: We performed a meta-analysis, reviewed guidelines for cardiovascular diseases, and consulted end users, experts, and software developers to create the platform concept and content. The software was built in iterative cycles. In the pilot study, 41 people aged ≥65 years used the platform for 8 weeks. Participants used the interactive features of the platform and appreciated the coach support. During all phases adjustments were made to incorporate all improvements from the previous phases. The final platform is a personal, secured, and interactive platform supported by a coach.
Discussion: When carefully designed, an interactive Internet platform is acceptable and feasible for use by older people with basic computer skills. To improve acceptability by older people, we recommend involving the end users in the process of development, to personalize the platform and to combine the application with human support. The interactive HATICE platform will be tested for efficacy in a multinational randomized controlled trial (ISRCTN48151589).
Keywords: behavioral health; cardiology/cardiovascular disease; e-health; home health monitoring.