Cognitive Bias Modification Training Targeting Fatigue in Patients With Kidney Disease: Usability Study

Jody Geerts*, Marcel Pieterse, Goos Laverman, Femke Waanders, Nicole Oosterom, Jacqueline Slegten, Elske Salemink, Christina Bode

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Background: Fatigue is an important symptom for many patients, including patients with kidney disease. Cognitive biases, such as attentional bias and self-identity bias, are thought to influence fatigue. Cognitive bias modification (CBM) training is a promising technique to counter fatigue.

Objective: We aimed to evaluate a CBM training among patients with kidney disease and health care professionals (HCPs) and assess acceptability and applicability in the clinical setting using an iterative design process to evaluate expectations and experiences with the training.

Methods: This was a longitudinal, qualitative, and multiple stakeholder-perspective usability study in which we interviewed end users and HCPs during the prototyping phase and after the end of training. We conducted semistructured interviews with 29 patients and 16 HCPs. The interviews were transcribed and analyzed thematically. Next to a general evaluation of the training, the acceptability of the training was evaluated using the Theoretical Framework of Acceptability, and applicability was assessed by evaluating obstacles and solutions for implementation in the kidney care setting.

Results: Generally, participants were positive about the training and its applicability. The biggest negatives were doubts about effectiveness and annoyance about the repetitive character of CBM. Acceptability was judged with a mixed evaluation, with a negative evaluation of perceived effectiveness; mixed results for burden, intervention coherence, and self-efficacy; and positive results for affective attitude, ethicality, and opportunity costs. Barriers for applicability were patients' varying computer skills, subjectivity of fatigue, and integration with regular treatment (eg, the role of HCPs). Possible solutions included assigning representatives among nurses, offering training on an app, and providing assistance via a help desk. The iterative design process, including repeated waves of testing user expectations and experiences, yielded complementary data.

Conclusions: To the best of our knowledge, this study is the first to introduce a CBM training targeting fatigue. Furthermore, this study provides one of the first user evaluations of a CBM training, both among patients with kidney disease and their care providers. Overall, the training was evaluated positively, although acceptability showed mixed results. Applicability was positive although barriers were identified. The proposed solutions require further testing, preferably following the same frameworks, as the iteration in this study contributed positively to the quality of the training. Therefore, future research should follow the same frameworks and consider stakeholders and end users in eHealth intervention design.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere43636
JournalJMIR Formative Research
Publication statusPublished - 29 May 2023


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