AppReminders – a pilot feasibility randomized controlled trial of a memory aid app for people with acquired brain injury

Jamieson, Matthew and McClelland, Heather and Goudie, Nicola and McFarlane, Jean and Cullen, Breda and Lennon, Marilyn and Brewster, Stephen and Stanley, Bethany and McConnachie, Alex and Evans, Jonathan (2023) AppReminders – a pilot feasibility randomized controlled trial of a memory aid app for people with acquired brain injury. Neuropsychological Rehabilitation, 34 (4). pp. 535-571. ISSN 1464-0694 (

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Mobile phone reminding apps can be used by people with acquired brain injury (ABI) to compensate for memory impairments. This pilot feasibility trial aimed to establish the feasibility of a randomized controlled trial comparing reminder apps in an ABI community treatment setting. Adults with ABI and memory difficulty who completed the three-week baseline were randomized (n = 29) and allocated to Google Calendar or ApplTree app. Those who attended an intervention session (n = 21) watched a 30-minute video tutorial of the app then completed reminder setting assignments to ensure they could use the app. Guidance was given if needed from a clinician or researcher. Those who passed the app assignments (n = 19) completed a three-week follow up. Recruitment was lower than target (n = 50), retention rate was 65.5%, adherence rate was 73.7%. Qualitative feedback highlighted issues that may impact usability of reminding apps introduced within community brain injury rehabilitation. Feasibility results indicate a full trial would require 72 participants to demonstrate the minimally clinically important efficacy difference between apps, should a difference exist. Most participants (19 of 21) given an app could learn to use it with the short tutorial. Design features implemented in ApplTree have potential to improve the uptake and utility of reminding apps.