This paper explores the reasons why particular online CoP for alcohol harm reduction hosted by the UK Health Forum failed to generate sufficient interest from the group of public health professionals at which it was aimed | Implementation Science
Improving mechanisms for knowledge translation (KT) and connecting decision-makers to each other and the information and evidence they consider relevant to their work remains a priority for public health. Virtual communities of practices (CoPs) potentially offer an affordable and flexible means of encouraging connection and sharing of evidence, information and learning among the public health community in ways that transgress traditional geographical, professional, institutional and time boundaries. The suitability of online CoPs in public health, however, has rarely been tested.
Quantitative and qualitative data confirm that the target audience had an interest in the kind of information and evidence the CoP was set up to share and generate discussion about, but also that participants considered themselves to already have relatively good access to the information and evidence they needed to inform their work. Qualitative data revealed that the main barriers to using the CoP were a proliferation of information sources meaning that participants preferred to utilise trusted sources that were already established within their daily routines and a lack of time to engage with new online tools that required any significant commitment.
Full reference: Ponsford, R. et al. (2017) Competing for space in an already crowded market: a mixed methods study of why an online community of practice (CoP) for alcohol harm reduction failed to generate interest amongst the group of public health professionals at which it was aimed. Implementation Science. 12:91
There is increasing evidence to support the effectiveness of eTherapies for mental health, although limited data have been reported from community-based services | BMJ Open
Results: Data indicated baseline differences, with the Breaking Free Online group having higher scores for depression and anxiety than the Living Life to the Full Interactive and Sleepio groups. Promising improvements in mental health scores were found within all three groups, as were significant reductions in numbers of service users reaching clinical threshold scores for mental health difficulties. Number of days of engagement was not related to change from baseline for the Living Life to the Full or Sleepio programmes but was associated with degree of change for Breaking Free Online.
Conclusion: Data presented provide evidence for feasibility of this eTherapy delivery model in supporting service users with a range of mental health difficulties and suggest that eTherapies may be a useful addition to treatment offering in community-based services.
Full reference: Elison, S. et al. (2017) Feasibility of a UK community-based, eTherapy mental health service in Greater Manchester: repeated-measures and between-groups study of ‘Living Life to the Full Interactive’, ‘Sleepio’ and ‘Breaking Free Online’ at ‘Self Help Services’. BMJ Open. 7:e016392
Adolescents spend an unprecedented amount of time using digital technology to access the Internet and engage with social media. There is concern that this continuous connectivity could increase their mental health symptoms, especially for at-risk adolescents. | Journal of Pediatric Nursing
A new US study has reported that on days that at-risk adolescents used technology more, they experienced more conduct problems and higher attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms compared to days when they used digital technologies less.
However, the study also found that on days when adolescents spent more time using digital technologies they were less likely to report symptoms of depression and anxiety.
•Daily digital technology use by at-risk adolescents is associated with worse mental health symptoms.
•Higher levels of digital technology use were associated with increases in next-day conduct problems.
•Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder symptoms increased with increased digital technology use.
•When adolescents spent more time using digital technologies they reported fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Full reference: McBride, Deborah L. Daily Digital Technology Use Linked to Mental Health Symptoms for High-risk Adolescents. Journal of Pediatric Nursing: Nursing Care of Children and Families. Published online 7th June 2017
The potential of digital technology to make the lives of people with mental health difficulties better has never been greater | The Mental Elf
The advent of the smartphone and mobile internet access has created the conditions for an ever-expanding range of opportunities for the use of technology to influence outcomes in health. However, ethical considerations remain for professionals in suggesting the use of such technologies.
Bauer et al.’s (2017) open access paper Ethical perspectives on recommending digital technology for patients with mental illness reviews some of the major ethical concerns presented to medical professionals by this explosion of technological possibilities and explores some of the ways in which new technologies challenge the boundaries between health, commerce and the private and public uses of data.
Read the full blog post here
Seven areas across England are set to trail-blaze digital services for mental health patients, which will include innovative apps to improve care and online access to ‘real-time’ patient records. | NHS England
NHS England has announced funding for seven mental health trusts to enable them to pioneer digital services for mental health patients. It is intended that all key professionals involved in a patient’s care have access to real-time records – from triage and initial assessment, through to admissions or referrals, as well as transfer between services and follow up care.
The trusts will also develop remote, mobile and assistive technologies to empower patients to manage their conditions and enable family and carers to provide the best possible support.
The trusts will have up to £70m to invest in digital services – consisting £35m with additional match funding from themselves of £35m – in order to become ‘Global Digital Exemplars for Mental Health’ helping the organisations become world-leading in the use of IT, providing knowledge and expertise to the wider NHS in order to reduce time and costs for others.
This is all part of the NHS’ plan to harness technology to improve services and become more efficient.
Stjernswärd, S. et al. (2017) Health & Social Care in the Community. 25(2) pp.700-709.
The programme’s usability was satisfactory and largely corroborated by the surveys. The programme was experienced as a valuable tool to cope with stress in both private and professional contexts, making it a viable option to support families living with mental health problems. Time for self-care, a widened perspective, a less judgmental and more accepting attitude, deterring automatic reactions and setting limits helped the participants to deal with their situation and health. The programme’s ease and flexibility of use were major advantages, although the training requires discipline.
Motivators and barriers to use were illuminated, which should be considered in the development of further online services and study designs.
Read the full abstract here