Patients’ Experiences of Using a Cellular Photo Digital Breathalyzer for Treatment Purposes

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Abstract

Objectives:

The field of eHealth systems is rapidly developing and is now expanding into alcohol treatment settings. Despite a growing public and professional interest, cellular photo digital breathalyzers (CPDBs) have not been investigated in a clinical context so far. In this study, we aimed to investigate the experiences of patients in alcohol treatment who had been using a CPDB—TripleA- for a minimum of three months. What are their personal experiences of using the CPDB? Do the patients think it supports them to change their drinking habits, and if so, in what way?

Methods:

A qualitative interview study with individuals who had been using the CPDB TripleA, for at least 3 months as complement to treatment (12-step program or hospital-based outpatient care). A thematic analysis with an inductive approach was used to identify, analyze, and interpret patterns within data.

Results:

In all, 12 interviews were conducted with 8 men and 4 women. Participants were generally enthusiastic about the CPDB and found it convenient and useful, even though it created a need for privacy when using the device. Although technical problems were substantial, participants were tolerant to those. The system was perceived to support self-control and to restore relations, but did not replace the need for close contact with caregivers. Self-motivation to change drinking habits was essential, and could not be reached by solely using the CPDB.

Conclusions:

Participants perceived the CPDB as a convenient and useful tool that was supportive under the circumstances that it was used in a context that included personal contact with a caregiver; and the user felt more than just a minimum of motivation to reduce drinking. Technical stability needs to be achieved to secure long-term use.

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