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Collaborative care clinician perceptions of computerized cognitive behavioral therapy for depression in primary care

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In Veterans Health Administration's (VA) Primary Care-Mental Health Integration (PC-MHI) models, primary care providers, care managers, and mental health clinicians collaboratively provide depression care. Primary care patients, however, still lack timely, sufficient access to psychotherapy treatment. Adapting PC-MHI collaborative care to improve uptake of evidence-based computerized cognitive behavioral therapy (cCBT) may be a potential solution. Understanding primary care-based mental health clinician perspectives is crucial for facilitating adoption of cCBT as part of collaborative depression care. We examined PC-MHI mental health clinicians' perspectives on adapting collaborative care models to support cCBT for VA primary care patients. We conducted 16 semi-structured interviews with PC-MHI nurse care managers, licensed social workers, psychologists, and psychiatrists in one VA health-care system. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed, coded using the constant comparative method, and analyzed for overarching themes. Although cCBT awareness and knowledge were not widespread, participants were highly accepting of enhancing PC-MHI models with cCBT for depression treatment. Participants supported cCBT delivery by a PC-MHI care manager or clinician and saw it as an additional tool to engage patients, particularly younger Veterans, in mental health treatment. They commented that current VA PC-MHI models did not facilitate, and had barriers to, use of online and mobile treatments. If effectively implemented, however, respondents thought it had potential to increase the number of patients they could treat. There is widespread interest in modernizing health systems. VA PC-MHI mental health clinicians appear open to adapting collaborative care to increase uptake of cCBT to improve psychotherapy access.

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