Background: During the last fifteen years, the possibility of delivering psychoeducation programs through Internet-based platforms have been explored. Studies evaluating those programs have shown good to acceptable retention rates. In this context, we developed a smartphone application (SIMPLe) collecting information about mood symptoms and offering personalized psychoeducation messages. The main aims of this study were to evaluate the feasibility, acceptability and satisfaction of the smartphone application.
Methods: The study was conducted from March to August 2015. Participation in the study was proposed to a consecutive sample of adult patients attending an outpatient mental health clinic. Sociodemographic data, clinical and functional assessments alongside smartphone ownership and uses were collected at baseline and at 3 months’ follow-up. A 5 item Likert-scale satisfaction questionnaire was also employed.
Results: 51 participants were initially enrolled in the study, 36 (74%) remained actively using the application after 3 months. The whole sample interacted with the application a mean of 77 days (SD=26.2). During these days they completed 88% of the daily tests. Over 86% of the participants agreed that the experience using the application was satisfactory.
Limitations: The diversity of smartphones operating systems led to a moderate, although representative, sample number. Additionally, the subjective data reporting, narrow time frame of use and stability of the patients could have affected the results.
Conclusions: The results confirm that this particular intervention is feasible and represent a satisfactory and acceptable instrument for the self-management of bipolar disorder as an add-on to the usual treatment but future clinical trials must still probe its efficacy.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02258711.
Keywords: Application; Bipolar disorder; Psychoeducation; SIMPLe; Smartphone.