Currently submitted to: Journal of Medical Internet Research
Date Submitted: Jul 15, 2019
Open Peer Review Period: Jul 18, 2019 - Sep 12, 2019
(currently open for review)
Acceptability and feasibility of a mental health mobile application to facilitate monitoring and outreach among Veterans
Advances in mobile health (mHealth) technology have made it possible for patients and providers to monitor and track symptoms in real-time. Ideally, mHealth application (apps) would include both passive and interactive aspects of symptom monitoring.
Researchers at a Veterans Affairs Medical Center and the Cogito Corporation sought to explore the acceptability and feasibility of such a mHealth app, the Companion System, among Veterans.
A mixed methodological approach was used to investigate acceptability and feasibility. Veterans completed clinical interviews and self-report measures at baseline and a three-month follow-up. Veterans were able to use the Companion System app for three months. Passive data monitoring and outreach also occurred during this time period.
Results suggested that use of the Companion System was feasible and acceptable. Veterans were interested in, and used, the app; however, use of the app declined over time. Nonetheless, data was passively collected, and outreach occurred throughout. On the Client Satisfaction Questionnaire, 79% of the sample reported satisfaction (M = 26.2, SD = 4.3) demonstrating acceptability. Many Veterans reported liking the app features and the sense of connection they felt with the study clinicians who monitored their symptoms. Lack of privacy was a relatively minor concern.
Feasibility and acceptability of a smartphone app to monitor mental health symptoms and follow-up in a Veteran sample was supported. Clinically, the Companion System app may serve as a useful method to promote symptom monitoring and facilitate early identification of risk and mitigation of negative psychiatric outcomes such as suicide.
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