Usability & Feasibility Testing

We help companies shape how their product can be best implemented in diverse populations.  

Usability, inclusivity, and content evaluation of COVID-19 contact tracing apps in the United States 

To make COVID-19 contact tracing apps more inclusive, UCSF S.O.L.V.E. Health Tech co-authored this study published in JAMIA, evaluating the usability of mobile contact tracing apps, especially for individuals with limited digital literacy skills and who face barriers to communication. Recommendations made for future app designs include lowering content literacy levels, using racial and gender diverse visuals, and including audio/visual components.


UCSF S.O.L.V.E. Health Tech is partnering with AppliedVR to identify barriers and facilitators to virtual reality (VR) and digital therapeutics in the medical safety-net.

UConn Center for mHealth and Social Media Annual Conference

2020 Virtual Conference: Building an Evidence Base for Commercially Available Technology

Co-founder of S.O.L.V.E. Health Tech, Urmimala Sarkar MD, MPH, presents our ongoing study developing best practices of implementing VR in safety-net settings. See how you can get involved with us. 

Omada Health

We engaged in a six-month collaboration with Omada Health to adapt their existing diabetes prevention content into a lower-literacy curriculum. We then conducted a real-world feasibility test with pre-diabetes patients at a public hospital. Here's what they had to say:

[S.O.L.V.E. Health Tech] proved to be a critical partner to Omada as we adapted our online diabetes prevention program for underserved populations. The center's deep experience with and cultural sensitivity to the healthcare safety net, combined with a commitment to rigorous scientific methods helped us not only develop a highly effective program adaptation, but also led to the conduct of meaningful research with peer-reviewed scientific publications. Our partnership with them has contributed to the overall integrity of Omada as a digital health provider for diverse populations. We continue to have a positive, collaborative relationship with UCSF and interact with them frequently in the broader healthcare community, advocating for and improving access to clinically validated interventions.

Omada Health


Relevant Publications List:

  1. Blacklow SO, Lisker S, Ng MY, Sarkar U, Lyles C. Usability, inclusivity, and content evaluation of COVID-19 contact tracing apps in the United States. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2021 May 22:ocab093. doi: 10.1093/jamia/ocab093. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34022053.

  2. Fontil V, McDermott K, Tieu L, Rios C, Gibson E, Sweet CC, Payne M, Lyles CR. Adaptation and Feasibility Study of a Digital Health Program to Prevent Diabetes among Low-Income Patients: Results from a Partnership between a Digital Health Company and an Academic Research Team. J Diab Res. 2016;2016:8472391.

  3. Sarkar U, Gourley GI, Lyles CR, Tieu L, Clarity C, Newmark L, Singh K, Bates DW. Usability of commercially available mobile applications for diverse patients. J Gen Intern Med. 2016 Dec;31(12):1417-1426.
  4. Tieu L, Hobbs A, Sarkar U, Nacev EC, Lyles CR. Adapting Patient Experience Data Collection Processes for Lower Literacy Patient Populations Using Tablets at the Point of Care. Medical Care. 2019 Jun;57:S140-S148.
  5. Nouri SS, Avila-Garcia P, Cemballi AG, Sarkar U, Aguilera A, Lyles CR. Assessing Mobile Phone Digital Literacy and Engagement in User-Centered Design in a Diverse, Safety-Net Population: Mixed Methods Study. JMIR Mhealth Uhealth. 2019;7(8):e14250. 
  6. Garg SK, Lyles CR, Ackerman S, Handley MA, Schillinger D, Gourley G, Aulakh V, Sarkar U. Qualitative analysis of programmatic initiatives to text patients with mobile devices in resource-limited health systems. BMC Med Inform Decis Mak. 2016 Feb 6;16:16.
  7. Rajan JV, Moura J, Gourley G, Kiso K, Sizilio A, Cortez AM, Riley LW, Veras MA, Sarkar U. Understanding the barriers to successful adoption and use of a mobile health information system in a community health center in São Paulo, Brazil: a cohort study. BMC Med Inform Decis Mak. 2016 Nov 17;16(1):146.
  8. Tuot DS, Leeds K, Murphy EJ, Sarkar U, Lyles CR, Mekonnen T, Chen AH. Facilitators and barriers to implementing electronic referral and/or consultation systems: a qualitative study of 16 health organizations. BMC Health Serv Res. 2015 Dec 19;15:568.
  9. Ratanawongsa N, Handley MA, Sarkar U, Quan J, Pfeifer K, Soria C, Schillinger D. Diabetes health information technology innovation to improve quality of life for health plan members in urban safety net. J Ambul Care Manage. 2014 Apr-Jun;37(2):127-37.
  10. Tieu L, Schillinger D, Sarkar U, Hoskote M, Hahn KJ, Ratanawongsa N, Ralston JD, Lyles CR. Online patient websites for electronic health record access among vulnerable populations: portals to nowhere? J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2017 Apr 1;24(e1):e47-e54.