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BACKGROUND: The Strengthening and Stretching for Rheumatoid Arthritis of the Hand (SARAH) program is a tailored, progressive 12-week exercise program for people with hand problems due to rheumatoid arthritis. The program was shown to be clinically and cost-effective in a large clinical trial and is recommended by the UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines for rheumatoid arthritis in adults. OBJECTIVE: We have developed an online version of the SARAH program (mySARAH) to make the SARAH program widely accessible to people with rheumatoid arthritis. The purposes of this study were to develop mySARAH and to evaluate and address its usability issues. METHODS: We developed mySARAH using a three-step process and gaining feedback from patient contributors. After initial development, mySARAH was tested in two iterative usability cycles in nine participants using a simplified think-aloud protocol and self-reported questionnaires. We also evaluated if participants executed the SARAH exercises correctly after watching the exercise videos included on the website. RESULTS: A preliminary version of mySARAH consisting of six sessions over a 12-week period and delivered via text, exercise videos, images, exercise plan form, exercise calendar, and links to additional information on rheumatoid arthritis was developed. Five participants (1 male; 4 females; median age 64 years) and four participants (four females; median age 64.5 years) took part in the first and second usability testing cycles respectively. Usability issues identified from Cycle 1 such as having a navigation tutorial video and individualised feedback on pain levels were addressed prior to Cycle 2. The need for more instructions to complete the mySARAH patient forms was identified in Cycle 2 and was rectified. Self-reports from both cycles indicated that participants found the program useful and easy to use and were confident in performing the SARAH exercises themselves. Eight of the nine participants correctly demonstrated all the exercises. CONCLUSIONS: mySARAH is the first online hand exercise intervention for people with rheumatoid arthritis. We actively involved target users in the development and usability evaluation and ensured mySARAH met their needs and preferences.

Original publication




Journal article


J med internet res

Publication Date





exercise training, hand joints, rheumatoid arthritis, web-based