Mixed methods evaluation to explore participant experiences of a pilot randomized trial to facilitate self-management of people living with stroke: Inspiring virtual enabled resources following vascular events (iVERVE)

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Introduction: Despite digital health tools being popular for supporting self-management of chronic diseases, little research has been undertaken on stroke. We developed and pilot tested, using a randomized controlled design, a multicomponent digital health programme, known as Inspiring Virtual Enabled Resources following Vascular Events (iVERVE), to improve self-management after stroke. The 4-week trial incorporated facilitated person-centred goal setting, with those in the intervention group receiving electronic messages aligned to their goals, versus limited administrative messages for the control group. In this paper, we describe the participant experience of the various components involved with the iVERVE trial. Methods: Mixed method design: satisfaction surveys (control and intervention) and a focus group interview (purposively selected intervention participants). Experiences relating to goal setting and overall trial satisfaction were obtained from intervention and control participants, with feedback on the electronic message component from intervention participants. Inductive thematic analysis was used for interview data and open-text responses, and closed questions were summarized descriptively. Triangulation of data allowed participants' perceptions to be explored in depth. Results: Overall, 27/54 trial participants completed the survey (13 intervention: 52%; 14 control: 48%); and 5/8 invited participants in the intervention group attended the focus group. Goal setting: The approach was considered comprehensive, with the involvement of health professionals in the process helpful in developing realistic, meaningful and person-centred goals. Electronic messages (intervention): Messages were perceived as easy to understand (92%), and the frequency of receipt was considered appropriate (11/13 survey; 4/5 focus group). The content of messages was considered motivational (62%) and assisted participants to achieve their goals (77%). Some participants described the benefits of receiving messages as a ‘reminder’ to act. Overall trial satisfaction: Messages were acceptable for educating about stroke (77%). Having options for short message services or email to receive messages was considered important. Feedback on the length of the intervention related to specific goals, and benefits of receiving the programme earlier after stroke was expressed. Conclusion: The participant experience has indicated acceptance and utility of iVERVE. Feedback from this evaluation is invaluable to inform refinements to future Phase II and III trials, and wider research in the field. Patient or Public Contribution: Two consumer representatives sourced from the Stroke Foundation (Australia) actively contributed to the design of the iVERVE programme. In this study, participant experiences directly contributed to the further development of the iVERVE intervention and future trial design.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2570-2581
Number of pages12
JournalHealth Expectations
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022


  • digital health
  • eHealth
  • feedback
  • goal setting
  • participant experience
  • self-management
  • stroke

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