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Implementing Internet-Based Self-Care Programs in Primary Care: Qualitative Analysis of Determinants of Practice for Patients and Providers.

Hermes E, Burrone L, Perez E, Martino S, Rowe M. Implementing Internet-Based Self-Care Programs in Primary Care: Qualitative Analysis of Determinants of Practice for Patients and Providers. JMIR mental health. 2018 May 18; 5(2):e42.

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BACKGROUND: Access to evidence-based interventions for common mental health conditions is limited due to geographic distance, scheduling, stigma, and provider availability. Internet-based self-care programs may mitigate these barriers. However, little is known about internet-based self-care program implementation in US health care systems. OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to identify determinants of practice for internet-based self-care program use in primary care by eliciting provider and administrator perspectives on internet-based self-care program implementation. METHODS: The objective was explored through qualitative analysis of semistructured interviews with primary care providers and administrators from the Veterans Health Administration. Participants were identified using a reputation-based snowball design. Interviews focused on identifying determinants of practice for the use of internet-based self-care programs at the point of care in Veterans Health Administration primary care. Qualitative analysis of transcripts was performed using thematic coding. RESULTS: A total of 20 physicians, psychologists, social workers, and nurses participated in interviews. Among this group, internet-based self-care program use was relatively low, but support for the platform was assessed as relatively high. Themes were organized into determinants active at patient and provider levels. Perceived patient-level determinants included literacy, age, internet access, patient expectations, internet-based self-care program fit with patient experiences, interest and motivation, and face-to-face human contact. Perceived provider-level determinants included familiarity with internet-based self-care programs, changes to traditional care delivery, face-to-face human contact, competing demands, and age. CONCLUSIONS: This exploration of perspectives on internet-based self-care program implementation among Veterans Health Administration providers and administrators revealed key determinants of practice, which can be used to develop comprehensive strategies for the implementation of internet-based self-care programs in primary care settings.

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