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Barriers and Facilitators to Mobile Application Use During PTSD Treatment: Clinician Adoption of PE Coach

Reger GM, Browne KC, Campellone TR, Simons CE, Kuhn E, Fortney JC, Sayre G, Reisinger HS. Barriers and Facilitators to Mobile Application Use During PTSD Treatment: Clinician Adoption of PE Coach. Professional Psychology, Research and Practice. 2017 Dec 1; 48(6):510-517.

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Providers have many options when considering mobile applications (apps) to potentially incorporate into their practice. PE Coach is a patient-facing mobile app developed to support providers and their patients engaged in prolonged exposure (PE) therapy for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Little is known about how providers and their patients use the various features of mental health mobile apps, in general, and PE Coach in particular. This article summarizes findings from qualitative semistructured interviews with 25 PE providers who reported using PE Coach with a total of 450 patients with PTSD. Categories of responses included how providers decided to use PE Coach, aspects and features of PE Coach appreciated, and their perspectives on patient use of the app. Facilitators of PE Coach use included the positive impact of a treatment-companion app on patient perceptions of treatment credibility, the side-by-side collaboration enabled by the app, the consolidation of treatment forms and resources on the patient's phone, and the therapist perceptions of benefits to their patients by app use. Some of the barriers to use included technical challenges, feature differences between the Android and iOS versions of the app, inadequate knowledge of available features, and the lack of an archive of previously completed homework and assessment forms. Results provide useful information about how to better promote the adoption of PE Coach, increase full feature use, improve the app, and could help generate hypotheses for exploring how other behavioral health technologies are used.

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