Results Summary

PCORI funded the Pilot Projects to explore how to conduct and use patient-centered outcomes research in ways that can better serve patients and the healthcare community. Learn more.


People have been using mobile devices more and more to help with health care. Stroke survivors often need to keep track of many things to maintain and improve their health. Mobile apps could help stroke survivors and their caregivers manage their health and health care.

Project Purpose

The researchers wanted to learn

  • How stroke survivors and caregivers feel about apps
  • What types of things they want apps to do
  • What things make apps easy or hard to use


Using information from focus groups and interviews with stroke survivors and caregivers, the researchers developed a survey about what features and content might be useful in an app for stroke survivors.

The researchers sent the survey to 11.720 stroke survivors and caregivers. The team used the survey results to identify the app features that people thought would help stroke survivors take care of their health. They then built an app with these features and asked seven stroke survivors to test it.


The team received survey responses from 1,221 stroke survivors and 396 caregivers.

Stroke survivors and caregivers said they wanted an app to help them

  • Schedule doctor appointments
  • Remember when to take their medicine
  • Keep track of their blood pressure
  • Finds local resources to help them take care of their health

Stroke survivors but not caregivers said they wanted an app to help them track fitness and diet as well as communicate with others.

Older survivors were more concerned than younger people about getting trustworthy information. Older survivors and their caregivers were less likely to say that an app would be useful. Younger survivors were more interested than older people in finding stroke support groups, and they wanted an app to help with stroke rehabilitation exercises—for example, physical therapy exercises.

Based on these findings, the researchers created an app they called ComeBackStrong. The app included features to help stroke survivors and caregivers

  • Schedule doctor appointments
  • Learn about local support groups
  • Get fitness and diet information
  • Find local resources to help them take care of their health
  • Provide reminders for taking medication

Stroke survivors who tested the app said reminders and alerts for medication were helpful. They suggested ways to make the app controls easier to use for people who may have trouble seeing or using the touch interface of a smartphone. They also gave feedback about making the app easier to navigate and customize.


The app can be used only by people who have iPhones or Android phones. The app was tested by only seven people. If more people had been included in the testing, researchers might have learned about other ways the app could be improved.


The researchers created the ComeBackStrong app based on needs identified by stroke survivors and their caregivers.

More to Explore...

PCORI Stories

What Do Patients and Caregivers Want In Mobile Health Apps? Ask Them
A narrative on how researchers consult with patients and caregivers as a first step in developing new mobile tools for stroke survivors.


Developing Mobile Apps for Stroke Survivors
Steven Levine and Dee Burton discuss some of the results of a preliminary survey they did to develop mobile apps for stroke survivors.

Journal Citations

Project Information

Sharon Januchowski, RN^
National Stroke Association
Mobile Apps (MAPPS): Patient & Caregiver Attitudes, Behaviors, and Knowledge

Key Dates

June 2012
June 2015

Study Registration Information

^Amy K. Jensen, BA, was the original principal investigator for this project.


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Funding Type
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Last updated: March 4, 2022