Title: eHealth WhatsApp for social support: design lessons

Authors: Luuk P.A. Simons; Wouter A.C. Van Den Heuvel; Catholijn M. Jonker

Addresses: Computer Science, Delft University of Technology, Van Mourik Broekmanweg 6, 2628 XE Delft, Netherlands ' Health Coach Program, Stevinweg 1, Delft, Netherlands ' Computer Science, Delft University of Technology, Van Mourik Broekmanweg 6, 2628 XE Delft, Netherlands

Abstract: WhatsApp was evaluated as group support tool for a high impact healthy lifestyle intervention, with 11 young professionals. Users valued the WhatsApp group as an attractive social support addition to the existing eTools and personal coaching. Based on preliminary results: 1) the WhatsApp group generated higher participation than most other social media; 2) deploying social media use motives; 3) possibly due to the relatively high 'presence' and 'engagement' attributes of WhatsApp; 4) contributing to healthy behaviours and health advocacy. Peer coaching was confirmed as promising. However, participation declined after the initial weeks. A design lesson was that users wanted more support for community forming. Several improvement suggestions are provided.

Keywords: eHealth; WhatsApp group; peer coaching; service design; healthy lifestyle; work site health; blended care; social media; social support; efficacy; motivation.

DOI: 10.1504/IJNVO.2020.108857

International Journal of Networking and Virtual Organisations, 2020 Vol.23 No.2, pp.112 - 127

Received: 17 Nov 2018
Accepted: 18 Feb 2019

Published online: 24 Apr 2020 *

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