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Open Access Research article

Development of a web-based intervention for the indicated prevention of depression

Saskia M Kelders12*, Wendy TM Pots1, Maarten Jan Oskam1, Ernst T Bohlmeijer1 and Julia EWC van Gemert-Pijnen1

Author Affiliations

1 Faculty of Behavioral Sciences, Department of Psychology, Health and Technology, Center for eHealth Research and Disease Management, University of Twente, PO Box 217, 7500, Enschede, AE, The Netherlands

2 National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, PO Box 1, 3720, Bilthoven, BA, The Netherlands

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BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making 2013, 13:26  doi:10.1186/1472-6947-13-26

Published: 20 February 2013

Abstract

Background

To reduce the large public health burden of the high prevalence of depression, preventive interventions targeted at people at risk are essential and can be cost-effective. Web-based interventions are able to provide this care, but there is no agreement on how to best develop these applications and often the technology is seen as a given. This seems to be one of the main reasons that web-based interventions do not reach their full potential. The current study describes the development of a web-based intervention for the indicated prevention of depression, employing the CeHRes (Center for eHealth Research and Disease Management) roadmap. The goals are to create a user-friendly application which fits the values of the stakeholders and to evaluate the process of development.

Methods

The employed methods are a literature scan and discussion in the contextual inquiry; interviews, rapid prototyping and a requirement session in the value specification stage; and user-based usability evaluation, expert-based usability inspection and a requirement session in the design stage.

Results

The contextual inquiry indicated that there is a need for easily accessible interventions for the indicated prevention of depression and web-based interventions are seen as potentially meeting this need. The value specification stage yielded expected needs of potential participants, comments on the usefulness of the proposed features and comments on two proposed designs of the web-based intervention. The design stage yielded valuable comments on the system, content and service of the web-based intervention.

Conclusions

Overall, we found that by developing the technology, we successfully (re)designed the system, content and service of the web-based intervention to match the values of stakeholders. This study has shown the importance of a structured development process of a web-based intervention for the indicated prevention of depression because: (1) it allows the development team to clarify the needs that have to be met for the intervention to be of use to the target audience; and (2) it yields feedback on the design of the application that is broader than color and buttons, but encompasses comments on the quality of the service that the application offers.

Keywords:
Development; Web-based intervention; Depression; Indicated prevention; Process evaluation; Acceptance and commitment therapy