Experiences of Children With Osteogenesis Imperfecta in the Co-design of the Interactive Assessment and Communication Tool Sisom OI: Secondary Analysis of Qualitative Design Sessions

JMIR Pediatr Parent. 2021 Aug 10;4(3):e22784. doi: 10.2196/22784.


Background: Children with osteogenesis imperfecta (OI) experience a diversity of symptoms that expose them to difficult physical, mental, and social challenges. Sisom (DHealth) is an interactive assessment and communication tool designed to help children aged 6-12 years with chronic conditions express their symptoms. Recently, the co-design of the Sisom OI paper prototype was launched by seeking the perspectives of end users, including children with OI and their clinicians.

Objective: The aim of this study is to describe the experiences that children with OI were prompted to share with researchers during the co-design of the Sisom OI paper prototype.

Methods: A secondary analysis of qualitative data was conducted at a university-affiliated, pediatric, orthopedic hospital. The data sources consisted of interview transcripts, drawings, field notes, and observations derived from interviewing 12 children with OI who participated in the co-design of the Sisom OI paper prototype. The themes and subthemes identified from the data sources were generated using qualitative description.

Results: Three themes were identified. The first, Relating to Others, described the balance between feeling different versus feeling similar to other children. The subthemes were Common OI Experience, Feeling Different, and Feeling Just Like Others. The second, Relating to Their Condition, described children's positive and negative interactions with their own condition and health care. The subthemes were Understanding Their Condition, Special Relationship with the Hospital, and Difficult Treatments and Procedures. The third, Reflecting on Capabilities, described children's recognition of their strengths and limitations. The subthemes were Perceiving Limitations, Overcoming Isolation, and Celebrating Strengths.

Conclusions: This co-design process provided children with OI the space to not only contribute to the development of the end product but also eloquently describe their experiences. These findings, based on the descriptions given by the children themselves, offer us a unique understanding of what it means to grow up with OI.

Keywords: child health; communication; mobile applications; software; symptom assessment.