JMIR Publications

Interactive Journal of Medical Research

A new general medical journal for the 21st centrury, focusing on innovation in health and medical research


Journal Description

i-JMR is a general medical journal with a focus on innovation in health, health care, and medicine - through new medical techniques and innovative ideas and/or research, including - but not limited to - technology, clinical informatics, sociotechnical and organizational health care innovations, or groundbreaking research.

Published by JMIR Publications, publisher of JMIR, the leading eHealth/mHealth journal (Impact Factor 2016: 5.175), i-JMR is a JMIR "sister journal" with a projected impact factor of about 2.03 (2016). which features a rapid and thorough peer-review process, professional copyediting, professional production of PDF, XHTML, and XML proofs.

i-JMR is indexed in PubMed and archived in PubMed Central.

i-JMR is also indexed in Clarivate Analytics (formerly the IP and Science Division of Thomson Reuters) new Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI).


Recent Articles:

  • Source: Shutterstock; Copyright: Ditty_about_summer; URL:; License: Licensed by JMIR.

    Internet Usage by Parents Prior to Seeking Care at a Pediatric Emergency Department: Observational Study


    Background: Little is known about how parents utilize medical information on the Internet prior to an emergency department (ED) visit. Objective: The objective of the study was to determine the proportion of parents who accessed the Internet for medical information related to their child’s illness in the 24 hours prior to an ED visit (IPED), to identify the websites used, and to understand how the content contributed to the decision to visit the ED. Methods: A 40-question interview was conducted with parents presenting to an ED within a freestanding children’s hospital. If parents reported IPED, the number and names of websites were documented. Parents indicated the helpfulness of Web-based content using a 100-mm visual analog scale and the degree to which it contributed to the decision to visit the ED using 5-point Likert-type responses. Results: About 11.8 % (31/262) reported IPED (95% CI 7.3-5.3). Parents who reported IPED were more likely to have at least some college education (P=.04), higher annual household income (P=.001), and older children (P=.04) than those who did not report IPED. About 35% (11/31) could not name any websites used. Mean level of helpfulness of Web-based content was 62 mm (standard deviation, SD=25 mm). After Internet use, some parents (29%, 9/31) were more certain they needed to visit the ED, whereas 19% (6/31) were less certain. A majority (87%, 195/224) of parents who used the Internet stated that they would be somewhat likely or very likely to visit a website recommended by a physician. Conclusions: Nearly 1 out of 8 parents presenting to an urban pediatric ED reported using the Internet in the 24 hours prior to the ED visit. Among privately insured, at least one in 5 parents reported using the Internet prior to visiting the ED. Web-based medical information often influences decision making regarding ED utilization. Pediatric providers should provide parents with recommendations for high-quality sources of health information available on the Internet.

  • Source: Image created by the Authors; Copyright: The Authors; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Social Media and Multiple Sclerosis in the Posttruth Age


    Over the last few decades, patients have increasingly been searching for health information on the Internet. This aspect of information seeking is really important, especially for people affected by chronic pathologies and require lifelong treatment and management. These people are usually very well informed about the disease, but are nonetheless vulnerable to hopes of being cured or saved, often amplified by misinformation, myths, legends, and therapies that are not always scientifically proven. Many studies suggest that some individuals prefer to rely on the Internet as their main source of information, often hindering the patient-doctor relationship. This is why a professional approach is imperative in this posttruth age, in order to maintain confidentiality, honesty, and trust in the medical profession.

  • Source: Flickr; Copyright: Sara de Prado; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution + Noncommercial + NoDerivatives (CC-BY-NC-ND).

    Quality of Patient Information Websites About Congenital Heart Defects: Mixed-Methods Study of Perspectives Among Individuals With Experience of a Prenatal...


    Background: When a heart defect is prenatally diagnosed in the fetus, expectant parents experience a great need for information about various topics. After the diagnosis, the Web is used for supplemental information, and the scarcity of research calls attention to the need to explore patient information websites from the perspectives of the intended consumers. Objective: The overarching aim of this study was to explore the quality of Swedish patient information websites about congenital heart defects, from the perspectives of individuals with experience of a prenatal diagnosis of congenital heart defect in the fetus. Methods: This was a mixed-methods study of websites identified through systematic searches in the two most used Web-based search engines. Of the total 80 screened hits, 10 hits led to patient information websites about congenital heart defects. A quality assessment tool inspired by a previous study was used to evaluate each website’s appearance, details, relevance, suitability, information about treatment choices, and overall quality. Answers were given on a 5-point Likert scale, ranging from 1, representing the lowest score, to 5, representing the highest score. Each website was assessed individually by persons with experience of continued (n=4) and terminated (n=5) pregnancy following a prenatal diagnosis. Assessments were analyzed with Kendall’s coefficient of concordance W, Mann-Whitney U test, Friedman’s test, and a Wilcoxon-Nemenyi-McDonald-Thompson test. In addition, each assessor submitted written responses to open-ended questions in the quality assessment tool, and two joint focus group discussions were conducted with each group of assessors. The qualitative data were analyzed with inductive manifest content analysis. Results: Assessments represented a low score (median=2.0) for treatment choices and moderate scores (median=3.0) for appearance, details, relevance, suitability, and overall quality. No website had a median of the highest achievable score for any of the questions in the quality assessment tool. Medians of the lowest achievable score were found in questions about treatment choices (n=4 websites), details (n=2 websites), suitability (n=1 website), and overall quality (n=1 website). Websites had significantly different scores for appearance (P=.01), details (P<.001), relevance (P<.001), suitability (P<.001), treatment choices (P=.04), and overall quality (P<.001). The content analysis of the qualitative data generated six categories: (1) advertisements, (2) comprehensiveness, (3) design, (4) illustrations and pictures, (5) language, and (6) trustworthiness. Various issues with the included websites were highlighted, including the use of inappropriate advertisements, biased information, poor illustrations, complex language, and poor trustworthiness. Conclusions: From the perspectives of the intended consumers, patient information websites about congenital heart defects are, to a large extent, inadequate tools for supplemental information following a prenatal diagnosis. Health professionals should initiate discussions with patients about their intentions to use the Web, inform them about the varied quality in the Web-based landscape, and offer recommendations for appropriate Web-based sources.

  • Social media training in Hanoi. Source: Flickr; Copyright: David Brewer; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution + ShareAlike (CC-BY-SA).

    Perceptions of Health-Related Information on Facebook: Cross-Sectional Study Among Vietnamese Youths


    Background: While health information websites may have previously been the core source of information about health-related conditions on the Internet, social networking sites are increasingly replacing those websites as a source of health-related information. The increasingly popularity of social networking sites among the general population has consequential impact on health policies as well as health-related interventions. To date, there remains a paucity of research conducted in developing countries like Vietnam looking at the influence of social networking sites. Objective: Our goal is to establish the baseline use of Facebook among Vietnamese youths and establish their perception of the reliability and usefulness of health-related information that they previously encountered while using the social networking site. Methods: An online cross-sectional study was conducted from August 2015 to October 2015. Respondent-driven sampling (RDS) technique was used in the recruitment of participants. Sociodemographic, health status, behaviors, Facebook use and belief of information on Facebook, and interpersonal influence of social network sites were collected via an online structured questionnaire. Results: Among 1080 participants, 72.87% (787/1080) reported being interested in health information on Facebook, and 50.74% (548/1080) and 17.50% (189/1080) perceived the information to be reliable and useful, respectively. A total of 10.93% (118/1080) of the participants also reported that they would follow the health advice they obtained from Facebook. Of significance, 7.13% (77/1080) of the participants also reported peer influences on their behavior. Factors that mediate Vietnamese perceptions of the information online include gender, level of perceived stress, age, educational level, and interpersonal influences from Facebook. Conclusions: Our study is perhaps one of the first conducted in Vietnam that looks at the relationship between health information on Facebook and factors that might influence young Vietnamese perceptions of the information and the consequential use of that information.

  • Source: Foter / FlickR; Copyright: FixersUK; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution + NoDerivatives (CC-BY-ND).

    Internet Use and Access, Behavior, Cyberbullying, and Grooming: Results of an Investigative Whole City Survey of Adolescents


    Background: According to the Digital Agenda for Europe, the way children use the Internet and mobile technologies has changed dramatically in the past years. Objective: The aims of this study were to: (1) breakdown the modalities of access and use of the Internet by teenagers to assess risks and risky behaviors; and (2) provide scientific data to evaluate and counsel safe use of the Internet and new technologies by teenagers. Methods: The study was conducted under the program “Strategies for a Better Internet for Children” started in May 2012 by the European Commission. It represents the main result of the project launched by Telecom Italia, “Anche io ho qualcosa da dire” (I too have something to say), thanks to which many contributions were collected and used to develop a survey. The questionnaire was structured in 45 questions, covering three macro areas of interest. It was approved by the Department Board at University of Magna Graecia’s School of Medicine. After authorization from the regional high school authority, it was administered to all 1534 students (aged 13-19 years) in the city of Catanzaro, Italy. Results: The data was broken down into three main groups: (1) describing education and access to the Internet; (2) methods of use and social networking; and (3) perception and evaluation of risk and risky behaviors. Among noteworthy results in the first group, we can mention that the average age of first contact with information technologies was around 9 years. Moreover, 78.87% (1210/1534) of the interviewed students reported having access to a smartphone or a tablet. Among the results of the second group, we found that the most used social networks were Facebook (85.78%, 1316/1534), YouTube (61.14%, 938/1534), and Google+ (51.56%, 791/1534). About 71.31% (1094/1534) of the interviewed teenagers use their name and surname on social networks, and 40.09% (615/1534) of them knew all their Facebook contacts personally. Among the results of the third group, we found that 7.69% (118/1534) of the interviewed teenagers have uploaded pictures or movies of which they felt ashamed; 27.05% (415/1534) have received invitations from people they met on the Internet to meet in real life; and 8.67% (133/1534) have accepted such invitations. Conclusions: The results offer a breakdown of the teenagers’ use of the Internet, focusing on how teenagers learn to use and access it while taking into account factors such as parental coaching, schooling, or self-education. It describes how they approach and interact with social networks and how they perceive risks and risky behaviors on the Internet. Information technology must be seen as an instrument and not as a hindrance. For this to happen, parental guidance, schooling, and medical counseling are needed for a sound development of the child in this critical stage.

  • Help-Diabetes home page (montage). Source: e-Health Unit, UCL /; Copyright: JMIR Publications; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Promoting Engagement With a Digital Health Intervention (HeLP-Diabetes) Using Email and Text Message Prompts: Mixed-Methods Study


    Background: Engagement with digital health interventions (DHIs) may be regarded as a prerequisite for the intervention to achieve positive health or behavior change outcomes. One method employed to promote engagement is the use of prompts such as emails and text messages. However, little is known about the characteristics of prompts that promote engagement. This study explored the association between the content and delivery mode of prompts and the users’ engagement with HeLP-Diabetes (Healthy Living for People with type 2 Diabetes), a DHI that aimed to promote self-management in adults with type 2 diabetes. Objective: The objective of this study was to identify the characteristics of prompts, specifically the content and delivery mode, which were associated with increased engagement. Methods: This was a mixed-methods study. Email and text message prompts were sent to the registered users of HeLP-Diabetes. Use of the intervention was recorded and examined to identify which email and text message prompts were associated with subsequent visits to the DHI. Characteristics of prompts that were identified as particularly effective or ineffective were explored through think-aloud interviews with the participants. Results: Of a total of 39 email prompts, 49% (19/39) prompts showed a significant association with subsequent visits to the DHI. However, none of the text message prompts were associated with subsequent visits to the DHI. Furthermore, think-aloud interviews were carried out with 6 experienced participants with type 2 diabetes. The findings suggest that these participants preferred email prompts that were clear, relatively short, and empowering; used nondirective advice; included health professional references; were visually appealing; and contained news and updates. Conclusions: The findings of this study contribute to the existing evidence supporting the role of email prompts in promoting and maintaining engagement with DHIs. This study described the content of prompts that may be engaging. However, the results should be interpreted with caution, as prompts may be context-specific interventions and the results may not be generalizable across other DHIs or other types of interventions targeting self-management of type 2 diabetes.

  • Source: Image created by the authors; Copyright: Mitch J Duncan; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Activity Trackers Implement Different Behavior Change Techniques for Activity, Sleep, and Sedentary Behaviors


    Background: Several studies have examined how the implementation of behavior change techniques (BCTs) varies between different activity trackers. However, activity trackers frequently allow tracking of activity, sleep, and sedentary behaviors; yet, it is unknown how the implementation of BCTs differs between these behaviors. Objective: The aim of this study was to assess the number and type of BCTs that are implemented by wearable activity trackers (self-monitoring systems) in relation to activity, sleep, and sedentary behaviors and to determine whether the number and type of BCTs differ between behaviors. Methods: Three self-monitoring systems (Fitbit [Charge HR], Garmin [Vivosmart], and Jawbone [UP3]) were each used for a 1-week period in August 2015. Each self-monitoring system was used by two of the authors (MJD and BM) concurrently. The Coventry, Aberdeen, and London-Refined (CALO-RE) taxonomy was used to assess the implementation of 40 BCTs in relation to activity, sleep, and sedentary behaviors. Discrepancies in ratings were resolved by discussion, and interrater agreement in the number of BCTs implemented was assessed using kappa statistics. Results: Interrater agreement ranged from 0.64 to 1.00. From a possible range of 40 BCTs, the number of BCTs present for activity ranged from 19 (Garmin) to 33 (Jawbone), from 4 (Garmin) to 29 (Jawbone) for sleep, and 0 (Fitbit) to 10 (Garmin) for sedentary behavior. The average number of BCTs implemented was greatest for activity (n=26) and smaller for sleep (n=14) and sedentary behavior (n=6). Conclusions: The number and type of BCTs implemented varied between each of the systems and between activity, sleep, and sedentary behaviors. This provides an indication of the potential of these systems to change these behaviors, but the long-term effectiveness of these systems to change activity, sleep, and sedentary behaviors remains unknown.

  • iStart Smart for Teens. Source: Image created by the authors; Copyright: The authors; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Short-Term Efficacy of an Innovative Mobile Phone Technology-Based Intervention for Weight Management for Overweight and Obese Adolescents: Pilot Study


    Background: In the United States, approximately one-third of adolescents are now overweight or obese, and one in six is obese. This financial cost and the larger nonfinancial costs of obesity make obesity prevention and management for adolescents imperative for the health of the nation. However, primary care visits are typically brief, and primary care providers may lack adequate resources to help overweight or obese adolescents to manage weight issues. To augment the efficacy of primary care visits for adolescent weight management, mobile phone technology can be used as an adjunct treatment that provides additional opportunities for encouraging improvement in lifestyle, attainment, and maintenance of healthy weight. Objective: The purposes of this study were to (1) measure effects of an innovative mobile phone technology-based intervention for overweight and obese adolescents and to (2) examine the intervention’s feasibility for use in primary care clinics. Methods: The mobile phone-based intervention had three components: use of the Fitbit Flex, participation in an online educational program, and receipt of biweekly text messages during the maintenance phase. A randomized controlled study design was utilized. Data regarding anthropometrics (body mass index [BMI] and waist-to-hip ratio), blood pressure, levels of physical and sedentary activity, diet, and self-efficacy regarding physical activity and diet were collected at baseline and at 3 and 6 months after the baseline assessment. Results: A total of 40 adolescents participated in the study. At the 6-month follow-up visit, compared to participants in the control group, the mobile phone-based intervention participants had significant improvement in BMI (z=–4.37, P=.001), diastolic blood pressure (z=–3.23, P=.001), physical activity days per week (z=2.58, P=.01), TV and computer time (z=–3.34, P=.001), servings of fruits and vegetables per day (z=2.74, P=.006), servings of soda and sweetened drinks (z=–3.19, P=.001), physical activity self-efficacy (z=2.75, P=.006), and dietary self-efficacy (z=5.05, P=.001). Medium to large effect sizes were found in these outcome variables. Conclusions: The use of mobile technologies may offer a practical, reliable adjunct to weight management for overweight and obese adolescents in busy primary care clinics serving adolescents. Trial Registration: NCT 01693250; term=Adolescent+ obesity+AND+mhealth&rank=5 (Archived by WebCite at)

  • WhatsApp in Telemedicine. Source: Image created by the authors; Copyright: The authors; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    WhatsApp Messenger as an Adjunctive Tool for Telemedicine: An Overview


    Background: The advent of telemedicine has allowed physicians to deliver medical treatment to patients from a distance. Mobile apps such as WhatsApp Messenger, an instant messaging service, came as a novel concept in all fields of social life, including medicine. The use of instant messaging services has been shown to improve communication within medical teams by providing means for quick teleconsultation, information sharing, and starting treatment as soon as possible. Objective: The aim of this study was to perform a comprehensive systematic review of present literature on the use of the WhatsApp Messenger app as an adjunctive health care tool for medical doctors. Methods: Searches were performed in PubMed, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Library using the term “whatsapp*” in articles published before January 2016. A bibliography of all relevant original articles that used the WhatsApp Messenger app was created. The level of evidence of each study was determined according to the Oxford Levels of Evidence ranking system produced by the Oxford Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine. The impact and the indications of WhatsApp Messenger are discussed in order to understand the extent to which this app currently functions as an adjunctive tool for telemedicine. Results: The database search identified a total of 30 studies in which the term “whatsapp*” was used. Each article’s list of references was evaluated item-by-item. After literature reviews, letters to the editor, and low-quality studies were excluded, a total of 10 studies were found to be eligible for inclusion. Of these studies, 9 had been published in the English language and 1 had been published in Spanish. Five were published by medical doctors. Conclusions: The pooled data presents compelling evidence that the WhatsApp Messenger app is a promising system, whether used as a communication tool between health care professionals, as a means of communication between health care professionals and the general public, or as a learning tool for providing health care information to professionals or to the general population. However, high-quality and properly evaluated research is needed, as are improvements in descriptions of the methodology and the study processes. These improvements will allow WhatsApp Messenger to be categorically defined as an effective telemedicine tool in many different fields of health care.

  • Life activities icons shaping MS (Multiple Sclerosis). Source: Image created by authors; Copyright: Simone & Chiara Eboli; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Health-Related Coping and Social Interaction in People with Multiple Sclerosis Supported by a Social Network: Pilot Study With a New Methodological Approach


    Background: Social media are a vital link for people with health concerns who find in Web communities a valid and comforting source for information exchange, debate, and knowledge enrichment. This aspect is important for people affected by chronic diseases like multiple sclerosis (MS), who are very well informed about the disease but are vulnerable to hopes of being cured or saved by therapies whose efficacy is not always scientifically proven. To improve health-related coping and social interaction for people with MS, we created an MS social network ( with a medical team constantly online to intervene promptly when false or inappropriate medical information are shared. Objective: The goal of this study was to assess the impact of on the health-related coping and social interaction of people with MS by analyzing areas of interest through a Web-based survey. Methods: Referring to previous marketing studies analyzing the online platform’s role in targeted health care, we conducted a 39-item Web-based survey. We then performed a construct validation procedure using a factorial analysis, gathering together like items of the survey related to different areas of interest such as utility, proximity, sharing, interaction, solving uncertainty, suggestion attitude, and exploration. Results: We collected 130 Web-based surveys. The areas of interest analysis demonstrated that the users positively evaluated to obtain information, approach and solve problems, and to make decisions (utility: median 4.2); improve feeling of closeness (proximity: median 5); catalyze relationships and text general personal opinions (sharing: median 5.6); get in touch with other users to receive innovative, effective, and practical solutions (interaction, solving uncertainty, and suggestion attitude medians were respectively: 4.1, 3, and 3); and share information about innovative therapeutic approaches and treatment options (suggestion attitude: median: 3.3). Conclusions: was perceived by users to be a useful tool to support health-related coping and social interaction, and may suggest a new kind of therapeutic alliance between physicians and people with MS.

  • Sneezing boy. Source: Flickr; Copyright: Sherif Salama; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Toward a New Kind of Vaccine: A Logical Extension of the Symmetrical Immune Network Theory


    Background: The symmetrical immune network theory, developed in 1975, is based on the existence of specific T cell factors and hypothesizes that normal IgG immune responses comprise the production of 2 kinds of antibodies, namely antigen-specific antibodies and anti-idiotypic antibodies. Objective: The aim of this study was to confirm the existence of specific T cells factors and to show that immunization of C3H mice with BL/6 skin or using nominal antigen for immunization (Tetanus Toxoid) induced production of antigen-specific (anti-BL/6 or antitetanus) antibodies plus anti-idiotypic antibodies (C3H anti-anti-C3H). Subsequently, we investigated the role of combinations of antigen-specific and anti-idiotype antibodies in a variety of animal models of clinical diseases. Methods: Antigen-specific antibodies were produced by conventional immunization of mice (eg, with tetanus toxoid or by skin allografting). Subsequent anti-idiotypic antibodies were derived by exhaustive absorption of antigen-specific antibody, with confirmation of anti-idiotypic specificity by binding to relevant target antigen-specific antibodies in an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Antigen-specific plus anti-idiotypic antibodies were then used to modulate skin allograft survival, dextran sulfate sodium (DSS)-induced colitis, ovalbumin (OVA)-induced IgE production, and breast cancer growth in mice. Results: Infusions of anti-BL/6 antibodies together with BL/6 anti-anti-BL/6 antibodies specifically suppressed (>85%) an immune response to BL/6 lymphocytes in C3H mice. The two kinds of antibodies with complementary specificity are hypothesized to stimulate 2 populations of T lymphocytes. Coselection of these 2 populations leads to a new stable steady state of the system with diminished reactivity to BL/6 tissue. A combination of anti-C3H and C3H anti‑anti-C3H IgG antibodies down-regulated inflammation in a mouse model of inflammatory bowel disease (>75%) and attenuated anti-IgE production and sensitization to produce IL4 cytokines (>70%) in an OVA-allergy model. Combination of C3H anti‑BL/6 and BL/6 anti-anti-BL/6 antibodies decreased tumor growth and metastases (>705) in an EMT6 transplantable breast cancer model. Conclusions: Use of a combination of antigen-specific and anti-idiotypic antibodies has potential as a new class of vaccines.

  • Dupuytren's disease. Source: Flickr; Copyright: Martin Sharman; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution + NoDerivatives (CC-BY-ND).

    Dupuytren Disease: Is There Enough Comprehensive Patient Information on the Internet?


    Background: Dupuytren disease is a chronic nonmalign fibroproliferative disorder that causes finger contractures via proliferation of new tissue under the glabrous skin of the hand, resulting in multiple functional limitations for the patient. As many surgical therapy options exist, patients suffering from this condition actively search for information in their environment before consulting a health professional. Objective: As little is known about the quality of Web-based patient information, the aim of this study was to conduct its systematic evaluation using a validated tool. Methods: A total of 118 websites were included, and qualitative and quantitative assessment was performed using the modified Ensuring Quality Information for Patients (EQIP) tool. This standardized and reproducible tool consists of 36 items to assess available information in three categories: contents, identification, and structure data. Scientific data with restricted access, duplicates, and irrelevant websites were not included. Results: Only 32 websites addressed more than 19 items, and the scores did not significantly differ among the website developers. The median number of items from the EQIP tool was 16, with the top websites addressing 28 out of 36 items. The quality of the newly developed websites did not increase with passing time. Conclusions: This study revealed several shortcomings in the quality of Web-based information available for patients suffering from Dupuytren disease. In the world of continuously growing and instantly available Web-based information, it is the health providers’ negligence of the last two decades that there are very few good quality, informative, and educative websites that could be recommended to patients.

Citing this Article

Right click to copy or hit: ctrl+c (cmd+c on mac)