Participatory design of eHealth solutions for women from vulnerable populations with perinatal depression

The SPIRIT Group, Mara Gordon, Rebecca Henderson, John H Holmes, Maria K Wolters, Ian Bennett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Cultural and health service obstacles affect the quality of pregnancy care that women from vulnerable populations receive. Using a participatory design approach, the Stress in Pregnancy: Improving Results with Interactive Technology group developed specifications for a suite of eHealth applications to improve the quality of perinatal mental health care.
Materials and methods: We established a longitudinal participatory design group consisting of low-income women with a history of antenatal depression, their prenatal providers, mental health specialists, an app developer, and researchers. The group met 20 times over 24 months. Applications were designed using rapid prototyping. Meetings were documented using field notes.
Results and discussion: The group achieved high levels of continuity and engagement. Three apps were developed by the group: an app to support high-risk women after discharge from hospital, a screening tool for depression, and a patient decision aid for supporting treatment choice.
Conclusion: Longitudinal participatory design groups are a promising, highly feasible approach to developing technology for underserved populations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-109
Number of pages5
JournalJAMIA: A Scholarly Journal of Informatics in Health and Biomedicine (JAMIA)
Issue number1
Early online date5 Sep 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016


  • patient decision aid
  • participatory design
  • depression
  • pregnancy
  • low socioeconomic status


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