Background: The combination of self-tracking and persuasive eCoaching in automated interventions is a new and promising approach for healthy lifestyle management. Objective: The aim of this study was to identify key components of self-tracking and persuasive eCoaching in automated healthy lifestyle interventions that contribute to their effectiveness on health outcomes, usability, and adherence. A secondary aim was to identify the way in which these key components should be designed to contribute to improved health outcomes, usability, and adherence. Methods: The scoping review methodology proposed by Arskey and O'Malley was applied. Scopus, EMBASE, PsycINFO, and PubMed were searched for publications dated from January 1, 2013 to January 31, 2016 that included (1) self-tracking, (2) persuasive eCoaching, and (3) healthy lifestyle intervention. Results: The search resulted in 32 publications, 17 of which provided results regarding the effect on health outcomes, 27 of which provided results regarding usability, and 13 of which provided results regarding adherence. Among the 32 publications, 27 described an intervention. The most commonly applied persuasive eCoaching components in the described interventions were personalization (n=24), suggestion (n=19), goal-setting (n=17), simulation (n=17), and reminders (n=15). As for self-tracking components, most interventions utilized an accelerometer to measure steps (n=11). Furthermore, the medium through which the user could access the intervention was usually a mobile phone (n=10). The following key components and their specific design seem to influence both health outcomes and usability in a positive way: reduction by setting short-term goals to eventually reach long-term goals, personalization of goals, praise messages, reminders to input self-tracking data into the technology, use of validity-tested devices, integration of self-tracking and persuasive eCoaching, and provision of face-to-face instructions during implementation. In addition, health outcomes or usability were not negatively affected when more effort was requested from participants to input data into the technology. The data extracted from the included publications provided limited ability to identify key components for adherence. However, one key component was identified for both usability and adherence, namely the provision of personalized content. Conclusions: This scoping review provides a first overview of the key components in automated healthy lifestyle interventions combining self-tracking and persuasive eCoaching that can be utilized during the development of such interventions. Future studies should focus on the identification of key components for effects on adherence, as adherence is a prerequisite for an intervention to be effective.
- health care