Complexity in Redesigning Depression Care
Comparing Intention Versus Implementation of an Automated Depression Screening and Monitoring Program
Published in: Population Health Management, 2016
Posted on RAND.org on April 12, 2016
Health care technology promises to improve quality and decrease costs while improving the patient experience. A recent trial tested a novel health technology that sought to reduce barriers to guideline-recommended depression care by coupling automated telephonic patient assessment with provider notification and decision support. This study compares the intended effects and the end users' experience with using this technology. Responses to semi-structured interviews with the leadership and design team (the intention group) were compared with responses from health professionals in clinics using the technology (the implementation group). Qualitative methods were applied to compare perspectives on the role of technology in care delivery and on the technology's impact on barriers to providing guideline-recommended care. Four members of the intention group and 17 members of the implementation group were interviewed. The 2 groups had similar notions of technology's role in care delivery. The technology increased provider awareness, empowered midlevel providers, and facilitated collaboration among care team members. However, the implementation group identified gaps in care processes and in the informatics system that the technology did not address, and for which providers remained responsible. The 2 groups had comparable perspectives on the value and limits of technology in improving adherence to guideline-recommended care. However, the intention group did not discuss many of the shortcomings identified by the implementation group. Also, the interviews suggest that although some barriers persisted and a few new ones arose, the technology succeeded in reducing barriers to guideline-recommended care.