Analyzing User Engagement Within a Patient-Reported Outcomes Texting Tool for Diabetes Management: Engagement Phenotype Study

Soumik Mandal, Hayley M. Belli, Jocelyn Cruz, Devin Mann, Antoinette Schoenthaler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Patient-reported outcomes (PROs) capture patients' views on their health conditions and its management, and are increasingly used in clinical trials, including those targeting type 2 diabetes (T2D). Mobile health (mHealth) tools offer novel solutions for collecting PRO data in real time. Although patients are at the center of any PRO-based intervention, few studies have examined user engagement with PRO mHealth tools. Objective: This study aimed to evaluate user engagement with a PRO mHealth tool for T2D management, identify patterns of user engagement and similarities and differences between the patients, and identify the characteristics of patients who are likely to drop out or be less engaged with a PRO mHealth tool. Methods: We extracted user engagement data from an ongoing clinical trial that tested the efficacy of a PRO mHealth tool designed to improve hemoglobin A1c levels in patients with uncontrolled T2D. To date, 61 patients have been randomized to the intervention, where they are sent 6 PRO text messages a day that are relevant to T2D self-management (healthy eating and medication adherence) over the 12-month study. To analyze user engagement, we first compared the response rate (RR) and response time between patients who completed the 12-month intervention and those who dropped out early (noncompleters). Next, we leveraged latent class trajectory modeling to classify patients from the completer group into 3 subgroups based on similarity in the longitudinal engagement data. Finally, we investigated the differences between the subgroups of completers from various cross-sections (time of the day and day of the week) and PRO types. We also explored the patient demographics and their distribution among the subgroups. Results: Overall, 19 noncompleters had a lower RR to PRO questions and took longer to respond to PRO questions than 42 completers. Among completers, the longitudinal RRs demonstrated differences in engagement patterns over time. The completers with the lowest engagement showed peak engagement during month 5, almost at the midstage of the program. The remaining subgroups showed peak engagement at the beginning of the intervention, followed by either a steady decline or sustained high engagement. Comparisons of the demographic characteristics showed significant differences between the high engaged and low engaged subgroups. The high engaged completers were predominantly older, of Hispanic descent, bilingual, and had a graduate degree. In comparison, the low engaged subgroup was composed mostly of African American patients who reported the lowest annual income, with one of every 3 patients earning less than US $20,000 annually. Conclusions: There are discernible engagement phenotypes based on individual PRO responses, and their patterns vary in the timing of peak engagement and demographics. Future studies could use these findings to predict engagement categories and tailor interventions to promote longitudinal engagement.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere41140
JournalJMIR Diabetes
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • SMS
  • digital health
  • digital phenotyping
  • health behavior
  • mHealth
  • mobile health
  • patient-reported outcomes
  • type 2 diabetes
  • user engagement


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