25 January 2019
mobile applications, behavior therapy, technology, internet, telemedicine, diffusion of innovation, translational medical research, outcome assessment (health care), review, implementation, behavioral intervention technology
Behavioral intervention technologies (BITs) are websites, software, mobile apps, and sensors designed to help users address or change behaviors, cognitions, and emotional states. BITs have the potential to transform health care delivery, and early research has produced promising findings of efficacy. BITs also favor new models of health care delivery and provide novel data sources for measurement. However, there are few examples of successful BIT implementation and a lack of consensus on as well as inadequate descriptions of BIT implementation measurement. The aim of this viewpoint paper is to provide an overview and characterization of implementation outcomes for the study of BIT use in routine practice settings. Eight outcomes for the evaluation of implementation have been previously described: acceptability, adoption, appropriateness, feasibility, fidelity, implementation cost, penetration, and sustainability. In a proposed recharacterization of these outcomes with respect to BIT implementation, definitions are clarified, expansions to the level of analysis are identified, and unique measurement characteristics are discussed. Differences between BIT development and implementation, an increased focus on consumer-level outcomes, the expansion of providers who support BIT use, and the blending of BITs with traditional health care services are specifically discussed. BITs have the potential to transform health care delivery. Realizing this potential, however, will hinge on high-quality research that consistently and accurately measures how well such technologies have been integrated into health services. This overview and characterization of implementation outcomes support BIT research by identifying and proposing solutions for key theoretical and practical measurement challenges.