Understanding Adoption and Preliminary Effectiveness of a Mobile App for Chronic Pain Management among US Military Veterans: Pre-Post Mixed Methods Evaluation

Timothy P. Hogan, Bella Etingen, Nicholas McMahon, Felicia R. Bixler, Linda Am, Rachel E. Wacks, Stephanie L. Shimada, Erin D. Reilly, Kathleen L. Frisbee, Bridget M. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: The Veterans Health Administration Pain Coach mobile health app was developed to support veterans with chronic pain. Objective: Our objective was to evaluate early user experiences with the Pain Coach app and preliminary impacts of app use on pain-related outcomes. Methods: Following a sequential, explanatory, mixed methods design, we mailed surveys to veterans at 2 time points with an outreach program in between and conducted semistructured interviews with a subsample of survey respondents. We analyzed survey data using descriptive statistics among veterans who completed both surveys and examined differences in key outcomes using paired samples t tests. We analyzed semistructured interview data using thematic analysis. Results: Of 1507 veterans invited and eligible to complete the baseline survey, we received responses from 393 (26.1%). These veterans received our outreach program; 236 (236/393, 60.1%) completed follow-up surveys. We conducted interviews with 10 app users and 10 nonusers. Among survey respondents, 10.2% (24/236) used Pain Coach, and 58% (14/24) reported it was easy to use, though interviews identified various app usability issues. Veterans who used Pain Coach reported greater pain self-efficacy (mean 23.1 vs mean 16.6; P=.01) and lower pain interference (mean 34.6 vs mean 31.8; P=.03) after (vs before) use. The most frequent reason veterans reported for not using the app was that their health care team had not discussed it with them (96/212, 45.3%). Conclusions: Our findings suggest that future efforts to increase adoption of Pain Coach and other mobile apps among veterans should include health care team endorsement. Our findings regarding the impact of Pain Coach use on outcomes warrant further study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere33716
JournalJMIR Formative Research
Volume6
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2022

Keywords

  • Mobile health applications
  • Pain
  • Usability
  • Veterans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Understanding Adoption and Preliminary Effectiveness of a Mobile App for Chronic Pain Management among US Military Veterans: Pre-Post Mixed Methods Evaluation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this