Toonders S1,2,3, van Westrienen PE1,2,3, Nieboer M3, Wouters EJM3, Veenhof C1,2,4, Pisters M1,2,3
1UMC Utrecht, Physical Therapy Research, Department of Rehabilitation, Nursing Science and Sport, Utrecht, Netherlands, 2Center for Physical Therapy Research and Innovation in Primary Care, Julius Health Care Centers, Utrecht, Netherlands, 3Fontys University of Applied Sciences, Eindhoven, Netherlands, 4Utrecht University of Applied Sciences, Utrecht, Netherlands

Background: Medically unexplained physical symptoms (MUPS) are physical complaints (e.g. musculoskeletal pain, fatigue or dizziness) for which no medical condition can be found after medical examination and last longer than a few weeks. For 2.5% of all patients with MUPS-related symptoms complaints are chronic, with high healthcare costs as a result. To prevent chronicity, a new intervention (PARASOL) has been developed. This intervention consists of a proactive, blended and multidisciplinary program in which healthcare professionals work together and coordinate the care for their patients with MUPS. eHealth is used to provide care efficiently, as ´blended´ intervention and to stimulate self-management. In developing new complex interventions, it is important to go through different phases, moving from the development phase, through the implementation phase to an evaluation phase. This study focuses on the evaluation phase in which the usability of the program is examined from a patient's perspective.

Purpose: To determine barriers and facilitators with regards to the usability of a proactive, blended and multidisciplinary intervention in patients with medically unexplained physical symptoms from the patient's perspective.

Methods: Semi-structured interviews were held with patients that completed the entire PARASOL intervention program. Using the system usability scale, both patients with high and low satisfaction were included. The topic list served as a guide in the interviews, and was compiled based on a conceptual framework for evaluation of eHealth and determinants of implementation of health care innovations.

Results: A total of 13 patients were interviewed after which saturation was achieved. Five patients with low user satisfaction, 4 patients with average and 4 patients with high user satisfaction were interviewed. The following themes emerged from the analysis of the interviews: expectations, goals and motivation, usability of online platform, patient involvement, involvement from disciplines, added value treatment.

Conclusion(s): Usability was moderate. Several themes were identified to improve the intervention.

Implications: Based on identified factors, the intervention can be further improved. Furthermore, the study can offer valuable insights for future proactive and preventive blended health care programs.

Keywords: MUPS, Blended-care, Physiotherapy

Funding acknowledgements: The study is funded by SIA RAAK. SIA-raak is part of The Netherlands organisation for scientific research (NWO).

Topic: Primary health care; Pain & pain management; Mental health

Ethics approval required: Yes
Institution: UMC Utrecht
Ethics committee: Medical Ethical Committee of the UMC Utrecht, the Netherlands
Ethics number: Trial Register 17/391

All authors, affiliations and abstracts have been published as submitted.

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