Insights of Patients and Clinicians on the Promise of the Experience Sampling Method for Psychiatric Care

Psychiatr Serv. 2019 Nov 1;70(11):983-991. doi: 10.1176/ Epub 2019 Aug 22.


Objective: This qualitative study aimed to map the relevance of the experience sampling method (ESM) for psychiatric practice and identify barriers and facilitators for implementation, as perceived by patients and clinicians.

Methods: Participants were 22 patients with various diagnoses and 21 clinicians (e.g., psychiatrists, psychologists) who participated in interviews or focus groups. Using Atlas.TI, the authors conducted qualitative thematic analysis to analyze the transcripts, resulting in four themes: applications, advantages, undesirable effects, and requirements for implementation of ESM in care.

Results: Clinicians and patients believed ESM could be relevant in every phase of care to increase patients' awareness, insight, and self-management; personalize interventions; and alert patients to rising symptoms. Further, ESM was expected to improve the patient-clinician relationship; lead to objective, personalized, reliable and visual data; and increase efficiency of care. However, participants warned against high assessment burden and potential symptom worsening.

Conclusions: This study provides first evidence that the potential of ESM is recognized by both patients and clinicians. Key recommendations for optimal implementation of ESM in psychiatric care include flexible application of ESM, collaboration between patient and clinician, regular evaluation, awareness of negative reactivity, availability to patients with different psychiatric syndromes, and implementation by an interdisciplinary team of patients, clinicians, researchers, and information technology specialists.

Keywords: Employee assistance programs; Patient perceptions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Ecological Momentary Assessment*
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Mental Disorders / therapy*
  • Middle Aged
  • Precision Medicine / methods
  • Psychotherapy / methods*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Young Adult