A Practical Guide for Developing mHealth Interventions: from Concept to Usability Testing

Thursday, June 13, 2019, 8:00am–12:00pm and 1:00–5:00pm

Friday, June 14th, 2019, 8:00am–12:00pm

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Course Description

The use of technology for recruitment, assessment, and intervention in health behaviors has grown dramatically since the introduction of the Internet and widespread adoption of smartphones. mHealth (i.e., the use of mobile devices for health-related purposes) provides opportunities for health practice and research, but challenges persist in its adoption, adaptation, and implementation. The purpose of this course is to provide an overview of the development of mHealth (native mobile apps, WebApps, text messaging) interventions for research and practice. Students will gain a greater understanding of core design principles, practical strategies for designing and managing mHealth programs, and tips for assembling and managing a team to successfully build and launch an mHealth program.

Course Objectives

The primary objective of this course is to provide students with the basic knowledge for how to design and implement an mHealth intervention.


By the end of the course, students will:


  • Better understand core design principles that can be applied to mHealth programs
  • Provide students with basic design skills to develop and plan an mHealth intervention
  • Provide students with practical project management strategies to oversee an mHealth intervention
  • Have greater insight into online recruitment strategies for reaching hard-to-reach groups.



No experience with programming/coding is needed, as course projects will focus on design elements of mHealth interventions.




None. We will not code or program an mHealth intervention in this course. The course will be taught from the perspective of a heath practitioner or researcher who will oversee the development of the mHealth program rather than coding or programming it.

Course Reading List

There are no required readings but the following textbook is recommended:

Brown, D. M. (2010). Communicating Design: Developing Web Site Documentation for Design and Planning (2nd ed.). New Riders Publishers: Berkeley, CA.


Additional material for the course is drawn from the following sources:


  • https://www.usability.gov
  • Bull, S. Technology-based Health Promotion. Sage: Thousand Oakes, CA
  • Colvin-Clark, R. & Mayer, R. E. e-Learning and the Science of Instruction (4th ed.). John Wiley & Sons, Inc.: Hoboken, NJ
  • Horvath, KJ., Ecklund, A., Hunt, S., Nelson, T., & Toomey, T. Developing Internet-based Health Interventions: A Guide for Public Health Researchers and Practitioners. J Med Internet. 17(1): e28.


Keith Horvath, PhD

The focus of my research program is to develop best practices for delivering technology-based primary and secondary public health interventions, particularly in the area of HIV treatment and prevention. I am currently leading on a number of grants to address this issue, including a study to assess the impact of a peer support intervention on medication adherence among HIV-infected drug-using and non-drug-using adult men, which is currently being adapted for youth with HIV of all genders. I am also leading two pilot trials to test the preliminary efficacy of mobile apps to support HIV testing among at-risk men and ART adherence among stimulant-using men.

Course Fee

Registration is $625.00


The registration period has closed for this event.


University of Minnesota

West Bank Office Building

Room 310
1300 South 2nd Street
Minneapolis, MN 55454

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