EMPOWER is a two phase mixed methods study. This means we will both use qualitative and quantitative methods. Phase 1 involves examining different perspectives on early signs monitoring, preferences for using mobile technology and current opportunities and barriers to help-seeking. In this phase we will run focus groups with people in receipt of services, service providers and informal carers. Information gathered at this stage will inform how the App is developed and the approach to testing in phase 2.
Our work in phase 1 is underpinned by Normalization Process Theory which is intended to support the implementation and evaluation of complex interventions in health and other setting. Phase 2 involves a cluster randomized controlled trial (C-RCT) in community based mental health services operated within the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and NorthWestern Mental Health areas. This will involve selecting six teams in Scotland and two in Australia. From these eight teams four will be randomly selected to use the App and four will provided treatment as usual. We will compare outcomes between those teams. We also aim to inform a future larger multi-site trial.
The study is funded by the National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment (NIHR-HTA) and the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) – through a Collaborative Research Grant.