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Publication - Dr Jeremy Horwood

    Implementing a digital tool to support shared care planning in community-based mental health services

    A qualitative evaluation


    Pithara, C, Farr, MC, Sullivan, SA, Edwards, HB, Hall, W, Gadd, C, Walker, J, Hebden, N & Horwood, JP, 2019, ‘Implementing a digital tool to support shared care planning in community-based mental health services: A qualitative evaluation’. Journal of Medical Internet Research.


    Mental health services aim to provide recovery-focused care and facilitate co-produced care planning. In practice, mental health providers can find supporting individualised co-produced care with service users, whilst balancing administrative and performance demands, difficult. To help meet this aim and using principles of co-production, an innovative mobile digital Care Pathway Tool was developed to be used on a tablet computer and piloted in the West of England.

    To examine mental healthcare providers’ views of and experiences with the Care Pathway Tool during the pilot implementation phase and identify factors influencing its implementation.
    Methods: Twenty in-depth telephone interviews with providers participating in the pilot, and managers in the host organisation. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed, anonymised and thematically analysed guided by the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research.

    The tool was thought to facilitate co-produced recovery-focused care planning, a policy and organisational, as well as professional priority. Internet connectivity issues, system inter-operability and access to service users’ health records affected use of the tool during mobile working. The organisation’s resources, such as IT infrustructure and staff time, and IT culture, influenced implementation. Participants’ levels of use of the tool was dependent on knowledge of the tool and self-efficacy; perceived service-user needs and characteristics; and perceptions of impact on the therapeutic relationship. Training and preparation time influenced participants’ confidence in using the tool.

    Findings highlight the importance for congruence between staff, organisation and external policy priorities and digital technologies to aid intervention engagement; and need for ongoing training and support of those intended to use the technology during and after the end of implementation interventions.

    Full details in the University publications repository