Health and quality of life outcomes 2017 03 1415(1) 49 doi 10.1186/s12955-017-0623-y
Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the most prevalent type of cardiac disease among adults worldwide, including those in Singapore. Most of its risk factors, such as smoking, physical inactivity and high blood pressure, are preventable. mHealth has improved in the last decade, showing promising results in chronic disease prevention and health promotion worldwide. Our aim was to develop and examine the effect of a 4-week Smartphone-Based Coronary Heart Disease Prevention (SBCHDP) programme in improving awareness and knowledge of CHD, perceived stress as well as cardiac-related lifestyle behaviours in the working population of Singapore.
The smartphone app "Care4Heart" was developed as the main component of the programme. App content was reviewed and validated by a panel of experts, including two cardiologists and two experienced cardiology-trained nurses. A pilot randomised controlled trial was conducted. Eighty working people were recruited and randomised to either the intervention group (n = 40) or the control group (n = 40). The intervention group underwent a 4-week SBCHDP programme, whereas the control group were offered health promotion websites only. The participants’ CHD knowledge, perceived stress and behavioural risk factors were measured at baseline and on the 4th week using the Heart Disease Fact Questionnaire-2, Perceived Stress Scale, and Behavioural Risk Factor Surveillance System.
After the SBCHDP programme, participants in the intervention group had a better awareness of CHD being the second leading cause of death in Singapore (X (2) = 6.486, p = 0.039), a better overall CHD knowledge level (t = 3.171, p = 0.002), and better behaviour concerning blood cholesterol control (X (2) = 4.54, p = 0.033) than participants in the control group.
This pilot study partially confirmed the positive effects of the SBCHDP programme in improving awareness and knowledge of CHD among the working population. Due to the small sample size and short follow-up period, this study was underpowered to detect significant differences between groups. A full-scale longitudinal study is required in the future to confirm the effectiveness of the SBCHDP programme.