Abstract: Background: Victims of trauma are at high risk for mental health conditions such as posttraumatic stress disorder and depression. Regular assessment of mental health symptoms in the post-trauma period is necessary to identify those at greatest risk and provide treatment. The multiple demands of the acute post-trauma period present numerous barriers to such assessments. Mobile apps are a method by which to overcome these barriers in order to regularly assess symptoms, identify those at risk, and connect patients to needed services.
Objective: The current study conducted a usability evaluation of a system to monitor mental health symptoms after a trauma. The system was developed to promote ease of use and facilitate quick transmission of data.
Methods: A sample of 21 adults with a history of trauma completed a standardized usability test in a laboratory setting followed by a qualitative interview.
Results: Usability testing indicated that the app was easy to use and that patients were able to answer several questions in less than 1 minute (mean [SD] 29.37 [7.53]; range 15-57). Qualitative analyses suggested that feedback should be included in such an app and recommendations for the type of feedback were offered.
Conclusions: The results of the current study indicate that a mobile app to monitor post-trauma mental health symptoms would be well received by victims. Personalized feedback to the user was identified as critical to promote the usability of the software.