Health on the Move (HOME) Study: Using a smartphone app to explore the health and wellbeing of migrants in the United Kingdom

Robert W. Aldridge*, Rachel Burns, Victoria Kirkby, Nadia Elsay, Elizabeth Murray, Olga Perski, Annalan M. Navaratnam, Elizabeth J. Williamson, Ramfis Nieto-Martínez, J. Jaime Miranda, Greg C.G. Hugenholtz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background/Aim: We have a limited understanding of the broader determinants of health of international migrants and how these change over time since migration to the United Kingdom (UK). To address this knowledge gap, we aim to conduct a prospective cohort study with data acquisition via a smartphone application (app). In this pilot study, we aim to 1) determine the feasibility of the use of an app for data collection in international migrants, 2) optimise app engagement by quantifying the impact of specific design features on the completion rates of survey questionnaires and on study retention, 3) gather preliminary profile health status data, to begin to examine how risk factors for health are distributed among migrants. Methods: We will recruit 275 participants through a social media campaign and through third sector organisations that work with or support migrants in the UK. Following consent and registration, data will be collected via surveys. To optimise app engagement and study retention, we will quantify the impact of specific design features (i.e. the frequency of survey requests, the time of day for app notifications, the frequency of notifications, and the wording of notifications) via micro-randomised process evaluations. The primary outcome for this study is survey completion rates with numerator as the number of surveys completed and denominator as the total number of available surveys. Secondary outcomes are study retention rates and ratings of interest after app usage. Ethics and dissemination: We have obtained approval to use consented patient identifiable data from the University College London Ethics Committee. Improving engagement with the app and gathering preliminary health profile data will help us identify accessibility and usability issues and other barriers to app and study engagement prior to moving to a larger study.

Original languageEnglish
Article number268
JournalWellcome Open Research
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We acknowledge Dr Yuka Ujita of Labour Administration, Labour Inspection and Occupational Safety and Health Branch, International Labour Organization, Geneva, Switzerland.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Aldridge RW et al.


  • App
  • Health
  • Healthcare access
  • Mhealth
  • Migrant
  • Migration
  • Occupational health
  • Refugee
  • Smartphone application
  • Wellbeing.


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