Rob Calder talks to Dr Olga Perski about her recent research on just-in-time adaptive interventions (JITAIs) whereby smartphones are used to help prevent lapses among people who are trying to quit or reduce alcohol, tobacco or other drug use. Dr Perski talks about why the literature is so complex and how defining JITAIs is difficult in the first place. She talks about the potential for Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA), GPS positioning and micro-randomised trial studies to contribute in this area, and how we may not want to press ahead with full-scale RCTs before having conducted additional conceptual and computational work to clarify what JITAIs are and how to develop them. Dr Perski also discusses the challenges of regulating mobile health apps so that people can access apps based on evidence of effectiveness. This episode was recorded online on 30 September 2021.

“I was coming to this from the perspective that JITAIs, given that they are dynamically adapting to the person as they go through their quit attempt or reduction attempt [would be] able to engage people really well given that it feels more tailored , more personalised. That’s why I was very interested in this particular outcome. Of course effectiveness itself is very important, but I think engagement is a key mediator of that.” 

The original article can be found here: Perski, O., Hébert, E.T., Naughton, F., Hekler, E.B., Brown, J. and Businelle, M.S. Technology‐mediated just‐in‐time adaptive interventions (JITAIs) to reduce harmful substance use: A systematic review. Addiction 2021; doi:10.1111/add.15687

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