One size does not fit all: participants’ experiences of the selfBACK app to support self-management of low back pain—a qualitative interview study

Svendsen, M. J., Nicholl, B. I. , Mair, F. S. , Wood, K., Rasmussen, C. D. N. and Stochkendahl, M. J. (2022) One size does not fit all: participants’ experiences of the selfBACK app to support self-management of low back pain—a qualitative interview study. Chiropractic and Manual Therapies, 30, 41. (doi: 10.1186/s12998-022-00452-2) (PMID:36192724) (PMCID:PMC9531397)

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Background: Low back pain (LBP) is one of the most common reasons for disability globally. Digital interventions are a promising means of supporting people to self-manage LBP, but implementation of digital interventions has been suboptimal. An artificial intelligence-driven app, selfBACK, was developed to support self-management of LBP as an adjunct to usual care. To better understand the process of implementation from a participant perspective, we qualitatively explored factors influencing embedding, integrating, and sustaining engagement with the selfBACK app, and the self-perceived effects, acceptability, and satisfaction with the selfBACK app. Methods: Using a qualitative interview study and an analytic framework approach underpinned by Normalization Process Theory (NPT), we investigated the experiences of patients who participated in the selfBACK randomized controlled trial (RCT). Interviews focused on the motivation to participate in the RCT, experiences of using the selfBACK app, and views about future intended use and potential of using digital health interventions for self-management of LBP. Participants were purposively sampled to represent diversity in age, sex, and implementation reflected by a proxy measure of number of app-generated self-management plans during the first three months of RCT participation. Results: Twenty-six participants aged 21–78, eleven females and fifteen men, with two to fourteen self-management plans, were interviewed between August 2019 and April 2020. A broad range of factors influencing implementation of selfBACK within all constructs of NPT were identified. Key facilitating factors were preferences and beliefs favoring self-management, a friendly, motivational, and reassuring supporter, tailoring and personalization, convenience and ease of use, trustworthiness, perceiving benefits, and tracking achievements. Key impeding factors were preferences and beliefs not favoring self-management, functionality issues, suboptimal tailoring and personalization, insufficient time or conflicting life circumstances, not perceiving benefits, and insufficient involvement of health care practitioners. Self-perceived effects on pain and health, behavior/attitude, and gaining useful knowledge varied by participant. Conclusions: The high prevalence of LBP globally coupled with the advantages of providing help through an app offers opportunities to help countless people. A range of factors should be considered to facilitate implementation of self-management of LBP or similar pain conditions using digital health tools.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Wood, Miss Karen and Mair, Professor Frances and Nicholl, Dr Barbara
Authors: Svendsen, M. J., Nicholl, B. I., Mair, F. S., Wood, K., Rasmussen, C. D. N., and Stochkendahl, M. J.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > General Practice and Primary Care
Journal Name:Chiropractic and Manual Therapies
Publisher:BioMed Central
ISSN (Online):2045-709X
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2022 The Authors
First Published:First published in Chiropractic and Manual Therapies 30: 41
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
172430SELFBACKBarbara NichollEuropean Commission (EC)689043HW - General Practice and Primary Care