The OPTIMA feasibility study – A short summary of our latest published paper.

In OPTIMA, we test whether the STEPS app can help support parents waiting for specialist assessment and treatment for their child with a clinical service. It is important that we share the results of this work with other researchers, clinicians and the general public, by publishing the results in a scientific journal.

Before any study is published, it goes through a peer review. Briefly, peer review works like a selection process when experts in the field check whether the results are legitimate and the claims the authors make are valid. This means that each published paper has been thoroughly assessed to make sure that it is of a high standard.

The most recent paper from the OPTIMA study, Remote Recruitment Strategy and Structured E-Parenting Support (STEPS) App: Feasibility and Usability Study, has just been published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research Paediatrics and Parenting. It describes the early work we completed to prepare for the current trial of the STEPS app. Here, we summarise the five key points from this study:

• We were testing a new online platform, MHE to support recruitment of parents into the study. The results showed that we were able to recruit a high number of parents using this method with parents filling out the screening tool to make sure they were eligible to take part, and also consenting for a researcher to contact them about the study, all using MHE.
• We were able to recruit enough participants to show that we could conduct a larger trial and the parents we recruited represented a diverse group of people.
• Parents taking part in the study reported that they were satisfied with the study procedure. 89% of parents were “satisfied” or “very satisfied” using a web-based method of data collection.
• We also recruited 12 parents to report back on the STEPS app and they gave positive feedback on the app’s usability. Parents commented that the app was “intuitive” and that navigation was “obvious” and “self-explanatory”.
• Overall, the study was efficient from a research point of view in screening participants and also delivering the intervention. Being able to complete questionnaires online and use a digital app is also convenient to many families. However, we are also aware that some families may be excluded due to lack of digital skills or access to an appropriate device or the internet. It is important to acknowledge limits in our research so we can work to address these.

If you want to find out more about the results, or the type of people who took part (participant demographics) you can visit this webpage or download the pdf here.

We will continue to upload articles as they are published on our website. If you have any questions about any of these articles, please feel free to contact a member of the OPTIMA team at