Harnessing the Tools of Marketers for Prevention Science

July 29, 2014

Think about the last time you had a good online shopping experience.You probably felt like it was personal, pleasant, and quickly met your needs. Right? Well, behind such an experience is a very sophisticated process that involves user-centered design and testing, user tracking, evaluation, continuous improvement, and an eye toward creating a personal encounter and a loyal customer. We’ve brought these "marketing" methods to CIRP@CHOP to tackle the challenge of delivering the best online experience and apps to families to help them keep their children and teens safe and to help them recover from illness and injury.

In a previous blog, you may have read about the development and evaluation of a prototype web-based program for families that helps them Learn, Plan, Log and Rate teenagers’ practice driving – called the TeenDrivingPlan (TDP). Through extensive background research, user-centered design and usability testing, we created an interactive program and website that followed an evidence-based program theory and fit the lives of families of learner drivers (as assessed through a process evaluation). Through a six-month-long rigorous evaluation trial, we were pleased to demonstrate that TDP helped parents of learner drivers enhance their supervisory skills - primarily through increasing the variety of environments included in their teen practice driving - and teens showed better driving performance on a rigorous on-road test.

This evaluation of TDP utilized a new state-of-the-art analytic platform developed here at CHOP@CIRP which helped us analyze how parents and teenagers used TDP in much greater detail than what has historically been performed for traffic injury prevention interventions.

Borrowing from the online quantitative marketing world, we used “software beacons” to track on an individual level how our participant parents and teenagers used TDP over the six months of the evaluation trial. We then linked these rich user-specific data with validated outcome measures, including self-report surveys and an on-road driving assessment.This powerful dataset is helping us understand how to better engage families and meet their needs in achieving a greater diversity of practice.

As reported in Injury Prevention, we learned that TDP user ratings were generally positive and that more than 80 percent of families used the intervention in the first weeks of the learner phase. Engagement with TDP was highest during the first few weeks of the trial, and those families with the highest early use went on to achieve the greatest variety of practice driving after 24 weeks in the study. Further, we found that in the early months of practice driving, families watched short videos and logged and rated the practice drives; but, during the later months of practice driving, fewer families continued to go back to the videos. This made it difficult for them to benefit from watching our more advanced driving videos, including those dealing with the critical driving skills that our research has shown are most associated with serious teen crashes (speed management, scanning) and environments and conditions that are among the most challenging for teens (rural and commercial roads, nighttime, and inclement weather).

What Are Our Next Steps?
This is only the beginning of our learner driver story. Now that we have initial evidence that families can achieve better practice driving with our usable, evidence-based program and an understanding of how families used TDP, we have set our sight toward developing a new and improved TDP. We are actively seeking additional funding to be able to move TDP from a prototype to a fully functional, mobile tool that can support families in achieving the best possible practice driving experience. We anticipate even better results in the future with an improved design that:

  • provides important information early in the learner period when parent engagement is greatest
  • better connects parents with opportunities to watch advanced tutorials
  • encourages continued learning as part of logging practice drivers
  • provides further personalization to meet family needs

Learn more about TDP and how you can help support this effort.

Learn more about our Digital Health Initiative that brings the power of our systems and methods to facilitate an accountable digital health revolution – one that truly improves safety, health, and injury recovery for children and their families.