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Smart SAA- sex smart in a click

Schartau, PES1; Kirby, M2

1: King's College London and Royal Free Hospital, UK; 2: University of Hertfordshire and The London Prostate Centre, UK

Objectives: The uptake of health screenings remains low, especially in men (Culica et al., 2002) and when the conditions are associated with social stigma (e.g. sexual heath). Increasingly, technology is employed to increase uptake, particularly in males whose health outcomes have been shown to be worse than that of their female counterparts (European Commission, 2011). Patient empowerment through the use of health Apps is a world-wide emerging phenomenon. This promises better medical outcomes at lower costs (Chatzimarkakis, 2010) through patients’ increased understanding of their conditions and active involvement in managing these. Based on the lack of, but emerging need for, an online non-infection related sexual health screening and advice tool, this first free of charge mobile App of its kind set out to fill the gap. We aimed to determine capacity and usability of a new App to screen patient provided symptoms and provide advice to inform management of common sexual health problems.

Materials and Methods: Diagnostic and management criteria for female sexual dysfunction, erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation and testosterone deficiency were obtained from international guidelines. A PIN protected interactive framework for the App was created and released for the Android and Apple platforms. Users can access validated sexual health questionnaires leading to diagnostic and management advice, including suggested life-style changes, when to seek help, and tests required.

Results: User data (N = 3798) from March 2016 to October 2017 suggested high levels of sexual dysfunction potentially amenable to treatment. Regarding the erectile dysfunction test (N= 1163, mean age 41y), all participants portrayed some level of dysfunction. In contrast, 17% of the respondents for the questionnaire assessing premature ejaculation (N= 617, mean age 34 y) do not suffer from this condition. Only 10 % of participants (N= 944, mean age 37y) who completed the test assessing testosterone levels were deemed to have normal levels. Interestingly, 35% of all participants (N= 1074, mean age 33y) undertaking the female sexual dysfunction questionnaire reported function within normal limits. Notably, 34% of respondents took the test on their female partner’s behalf.  

Conclusions: To our knowledge, this is the first App supporting health screening for the above conditions. Benefits include guided support for symptoms, a preliminary diagnosis, reassurance for stigmatised conditions, and further management advice. Future functions of the App include an expansion to other genitourinary symptoms. Our App has the potential to transform patient education and research studies in the area of sexual health.


Work supported by industry: no.

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