BACKGROUND: Symptoms related to endometriosis have a significant impact on the quality of life, and symptoms often recur. The experience sampling method (ESM), a digital questioning method characterized by randomly repeated momentary assessments, has several advantages over traditionally used measurements, including the ability to assess the temporal relationship between variables such as physical, mental, and social factors.
OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study is to develop an ESM tool for patients with endometriosis to accurately measure symptoms and their course over time, allowing for personalized treatment and adequate monitoring of treatment efficacy in individual patients.
METHODS: On the basis of international guidelines, items from validated questionnaires were selected through a literature review and during focus groups and multidisciplinary expert meetings. Data analysis was conducted using ATLAS.ti (ATLAS.ti Scientific Software Development GmbH). The feasibility and usability of the newly developed momentary assessment tool were tested for 28 consecutive days in 5 patients with endometriosis-related pain symptoms.
RESULTS: Momentary assessment items contained questions concerning endometriosis symptoms, general somatic symptoms, psychological symptoms, contextual information, and the use of food and medication. A morning questionnaire on sleep and sexuality was included. In a pilot study, the patients considered the tool easy to use but time consuming. The average compliance rate of momentary assessments was 37.8% (106/280), with the highest completion rate during the first week (39/70, 56%). Therefore, it is advisable to use the ESM for a maximum of 7 days.
CONCLUSIONS: A new digital tool for endometriosis symptom assessment was developed using the ESM, which may help overcome the limitations of current retrospective questionnaires. After validation and testing, future studies will be planned to evaluate the use of this tool in a clinical setting in order to propose a personalized treatment plan for women with endometriosis.