Implementing a Digital Tool to Support Shared Care Planning in Community-Based Mental Health Services: Qualitative Evaluation

Christalla Pithara*, Michelle C Farr, Sarah A Sullivan, Hannah B Edwards, William Hall, Caroline Gadd, Julian Walker, Nick Hebden, Jeremy P Horwood

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
200 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Mental health services aim to provide recovery-focused care and facilitate coproduced care planning. In practice, mental health providers can find supporting individualized coproduced care with service users difficult while balancing administrative and performance demands. To help meet this aim and using principles of coproduction, an innovative mobile digital care pathway tool (CPT) was developed to be used on a tablet computer and piloted in the West of England.
Objective: The aim of this study was to examine mental health care providers’ views of and experiences with the CPT during the pilot implementation phase and identify factors influencing its implementation.
Methods: A total of 20 in-depth telephone interviews were conducted with providers participating in the pilot and managers in the host organization. Interviews were audio recorded, transcribed, anonymized, and thematically analyzed guided by the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research.
Results: The tool was thought to facilitate coproduced recovery-focused care planning, a policy and organizational as well as professional priority. Internet connectivity issues, system interoperability, and access to service users’ health records affected use of the tool during mobile working. The organization’s resources, such as information technology (IT) infrastructure and staff time and IT culture, influenced implementation. Participants’ levels of use of the tool were 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.
Conclusions: Findings highlight the importance of congruence between staff, organization, and external policy priorities and digital technologies in aiding intervention engagement, and the need for ongoing training and support of those intended to use the technology during and after the end of implementation interventions.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere14868
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Medical Internet Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 19 Mar 2020


  • Digital health tools
  • health technology
  • mental health
  • community care
  • co-production
  • care planning
  • implementation interventions; Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research


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