Patient perspectives on the acceptability of mHealth technology for remote measurement and management of epilepsy: a qualitative analysis

Sara K. Simblett*, Elisa Bruno, Sara Siddi, Faith Matcham, Loretta Giuliano, Jorge Hortas López, Andrea Biondi, Hannah Curtis, José Ferrão, Ashley Polhemus, Mario Zappia, Antonio Callen, Peter Gamble, Til Wykes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Innovative uses of mobile health (mHealth) technology for real-time measurement and management of epilepsy may improve the care provided to patients. For instance, seizure detection and quantifying related problems will have an impact on quality of life and improve clinical management for people experiencing frequent and uncontrolled seizures. Engaging patients with mHealth technology is essential, but little is known about patient perspectives on their acceptability. The aim of this study was to conduct an in-depth qualitative analysis of what people with uncontrolled epilepsy think could be the potential uses of mHealth technology and to identify early potential barriers and facilitators to engagement in three European countries. Method: Twenty people currently experiencing epileptic seizures took part in five focus groups held across the UK, Italy, and Spain. Participants all completed written consent and a demographic questionnaire prior to the focus group commencing, and each group discussion lasted 60–120 min. A coding frame, developed from a systematic review of the previous literature, was used to structure a thematic analysis. We extracted themes and subthemes from the discussions, focusing first on possible uses of mHealth and then the barriers and facilitators to engagement. Results: Participants were interested in mHealth technology as a clinical detection tool, e.g., to aid communication about seizure occurrence with their doctors. Other suggested uses included being able to predict or prevent seizures, and to improve self-management. Key facilitators to engagement were the ability to raise awareness, plan activities better, and improve safety. Key barriers were the potential for increased stigma and anxiety. Using familiar and customizable products could be important moderators of engagement. Conclusion: People with uncontrolled epilepsy think that there is a scope for mHealth technology to be useful in healthcare as a detection or prediction tool. The costs will be compared with the benefits when it comes to engagement, and ongoing work with patients and other stakeholders is needed to design practical resources.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-129
Number of pages7
JournalEpilepsy and Behavior
Volume97
Early online date24 Jun 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019

Keywords

  • Acceptability and feasibility
  • Epilepsy
  • mHealth
  • Qualitative analysis

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