The paradigm shift from allergen avoidance to induction of tolerance early in life which occurred in the past decade means that the evidence base on which recommendations for prevention are based is changing causing uncertainty about the right strategies for prevention in both parents and health care providers. Both groups struggle to access, understand, appraise, and apply health information in order to make judgments and take decisions in everyday life concerning allergy prevention. This renders a thorough investigation of the perceptions and needs of both groups particularly important.
The aim of this sub-project is to explore parents' and health professionals' (HCPs') perceptions of the digital information environment on food allergy prevention and prediction. From this, recommendations for the development of digital health apps for parents and health professionals will be derived and finally the newly developed apps will be evaluated. The sub-project comprises 5 objectives or project parts:
- Objective 1: Researching and understanding parental information needs and search (study "parents").
- Objective 2: To explore and understand health care utilisation and health worker perspectives (GP study).
- Objective 3: Exploring and understanding the digital information environment (Digital Information Study)
- Objective 4: Triangulate the results of the "Parents", "GP" and "Digital Information" studies and integration of the results and development of recommendations (study "Recommendations")
Recruitment and data collection for the "Parents" and "GP" study is currently taking place. You can find more information about this in here/follow/xx. In parallel, the digital information environment is being investigated.
In this sub-study, we are interested in the perspective of health professionals (specialities: paediatrics and allergology) on the topic of food allergies in children (0-3 years). This specialist group brings significant knowledge to the topic through their expertise and professional experience.
For this purpose, we will conduct a virtual moderated dialogue (focus group) with healthcare professionals. Participation in the focus group will last a maximum of 90 minutes and will be remunerated with 80€. The professional colleagues will discuss the following topics. 1:
- which strategies for the prediction and prevention of food allergies are used or would be useful in children?
- what are the information needs and requirements of the parents/guardians of their patients?
- what information sources and strategies are used?
- which decision-making aids or digital applications to support information are/would be useful in their opinion.
The healthcare professionals will help us to describe and better understand the variety of information sources and strategies available for the prevention and prediction of food allergies. The focus groups will contribute to
- describing the perspectives of health professionals on food allergy prediction and prevention,
- understanding the opportunities and challenges of (interdisciplinary) support measures from the perspective of the health professions, and
- derive decisive indications for the development of an app for the prevention and prediction of food allergies.
In this sub-study, we are interested in the perspective of parents/guardians of children (0-3 years) on the topic of food allergies. The target group of parents/guardians brings significant knowledge to the topic. Parents/guardians of children (0-3 years) who are at risk of food allergy or who have already been diagnosed with food allergy(s) can participate. We invite the parents/guardians to tell us about their everyday life and their experiences on the topic of food allergies in a conversation (interview). The participation in an interview will last max. 60 minutes and will be remunerated with 30 €. The interviews will be conducted in person, by telephone or virtually.
We are interested in,
- what information parents/guardians need regarding health education, early detection, prediction and prevention of food allergies,
- how and where they search for this information and
- which decision-making aids and digital applications are/would be useful to support them with their informational needs,
- how parents/guardians experience everyday family life with their children - with the risk of food allergies or existing food allergies.
The information from the "parent interviews" enables us to describe and better understand the perspective and needs of this target group with regard to (digital) information support for health education, early detection, prediction and prevention of food allergies in children.
In this way, parents/guardians contribute to this:
- To understand experiences of parents/guardians with children (0-3 years) at risk for food allergies or already diagnosed with food allergies, as well as their actions in everyday life and their needs, and to
- to derive crucial information for the development of an app for early detection, prediction and prevention of food allergies.
The aim of the "Digital Information" study is to analyze the freely accessible digital information environment on the topic of "Prevention and Prediction of Food Allergies in Children". The results of the subproject will then be integrated into the development of the NAMIBIO app (SP3 in the overall project).
The following questions will be answered:
- How much and which information and apps are currently available?
- What is the quality of the information, for example in terms of comprehensibility, topicality, linguistic availability?
With the help of a quantitative and qualitative content analysis of web-based data, the digital information will be collected.
The data collection is carried out by means of a Google keyword search, whereby a priori defined search terms are used in combination as search terms.
The search terms thereby include:
- prevention: prediction/prevention/risk/screening/awareness.
- children: child/baby/infant/infants
- food allergy: food allergy/peanut allergy, nut allergy, chicken egg allergy, wheat allergy, cow's milk allergy, soy allergy.
Under source information, the data is extracted in Excel and the texts are saved for the subsequent quality assessment.
Based on a defined, objective set of criteria, the collected information is evaluated.
"Parents' and Health Care Professionals' Perspectives on Prevention and Prediction of Food Allergies in Children: Protocol for a Qualitative Study."
The first publication of our team within the NAMIBIO consortium that summarizes our work to date and explores parents' and health care professionals' perspectives on the prediction and prevention of food allergies with the goal of better understanding them.
We are particularly interested in information needs, information seeking, and health care utilization, with a special focus on families' experiences when their child is at risk or diagnosed with a food allergy. It also examines health care professionals' prediction and prevention strategies related to food allergy.
The publication is available here.
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