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Using EMPOWER in daily life: a qualitative investigation of implementation experiences

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posted on 2023-11-10, 03:57 authored by S Allan, S Beedie, HJ McLeod, John FarhallJohn Farhall, J Gleeson, S Bradstreet, E Morton, I Bell, A Wilson-Kay, H Whitehill, C Matrunola, D Thomson, A Clark, A Gumley
Background: Digital self-management tools blended with clinical triage and peer support have the potential to improve access to early warning signs (EWS) based relapse prevention in schizophrenia care. However, the implementation of digital interventions in psychosis can be poor. Traditionally, research focused on understanding how people implement interventions has focused on the perspectives of mental health staff. Digital interventions are becoming more commonly used by patients within the context of daily life, which means there is a need to understand implementation from the perspectives of patients and carers. Methods: Semi-structured one-on-one interviews with 16 patients who had access to the EMPOWER digital self-management intervention during their participation in a feasibility trial, six mental health staff members who supported the patients and were enrolled in the trial, and one carer participant. Interviews focused on understanding implementation, including barriers and facilitators. Data were coded using thematic analysis. Results: The intervention was well implemented, and EMPOWER was typically perceived positively by patients, mental health staff and the carer we spoke to. However, some patients reported negative views and reported ideas for intervention improvement. Patients reported valuing that the app afforded them access to things like information or increased social contact from peer support workers that went above and beyond that offered in routine care. Patients seemed motivated to continue implementing EMPOWER in daily life when they perceived it was creating positive change to their wellbeing, but seemed less motivated if this did not occur. Mental health staff and carer views suggest they developed increased confidence patients could self-manage and valued using the fact that people they support were using the EMPOWER intervention to open up conversations about self-management and wellbeing. Conclusions: The findings from this study suggest peer worker supported digital self-management like EMPOWER has the potential to be implemented. Further evaluations of these interventions are warranted, and conducting qualitative research on the feasibility gives insight into implementation barriers and facilitators, improving the likelihood of interventions being usable. In particular, the views of patients who demonstrated low usage levels would be valuable.


UK National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment programme and the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council.


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BMC Psychiatry



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Springer Nature



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© The Author(s) 2023. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.

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