Clinician Perceptions of Using a Smartphone App with Prolonged Exposure Therapy

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Abstract

Clinician perceptions of clinical innovations affect their adoption and spread. This study investigated mental health clinicians’ (n = 163) perceptions of a patient-facing smartphone application (app) for prolonged exposure (PE) therapy for posttraumatic stress disorder, before its public release. After reading a description of the app, participants rated perceptions of it based on diffusion of innovations theory constructs. Perceptions were generally favorable regarding the app’s relative advantage over existing PE practices, compatibility with their values and needs, and complexity. Age (<40 years), smartphone ownership, and having used apps in care related to more favorable perceptions. Smartphone ownership, relative advantage, and complexity significantly predicted intention to use the app if it were available. These findings suggest that clinicians are receptive to using a PE app and that dissemination efforts should target sub-groups of PE clinicians to maximize adoption.