Examining perceptions of a smartphone-based intervention system for alcohol use disorders

Telemed J E Health. 2014 Oct;20(10):923-9. doi: 10.1089/tmj.2013.0222. Epub 2014 Sep 22.


Background: This study presents results from qualitative interviews conducted with participants in a study on the effectiveness of the Location-Based Monitoring and Intervention System for Alcohol Use Disorders (LBMI-A), a smartphone-based, stand-alone intervention application (app) for adults with alcohol use disorders.

Materials and methods: Participants were provided an LBMI-A-enabled smartphone to use during a 6-week pilot study. The LBMI-A was composed of psychoeducational modules, assessment and feedback of alcohol use patterns, geographic high-risk location monitoring and alerts, and in vivo assessment and intervention for alcohol cravings and help with managing psychological distress. Semistructured interviews were conducted with all participants following 6 weeks of interacting with the LBMI-A app (n=26). Interviews explored user perceptions of the ease and utility of LBMI-A features, module helpfulness, barriers to use, and recommendations for improvements to the program. Researchers applied a systematic qualitative coding process to transcripts that included both a priori themes identified as important by the research team and new themes that emerged during the coding process.

Results and conclusions: Narrative analysis found the emergence of five main themes identified by LBMI-A users as the most helpful functions of the phone: (1) Awareness, (2) Accountability, (3) Skill Transference, (4) Tracking Progress, and (5) Prompts. These themes are explored, and implications of these findings for future smartphone-based interventions are discussed.

Keywords: behavioral health; telecommunications; telehealth; telepathology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol-Related Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Cell Phone*
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Middle Aged
  • Mobile Applications
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Pilot Projects
  • Qualitative Research