Supporting the adoption of eHealth: addressing needs of mental healthcare professionals

Milou A. Feijt, Yvonne A.W. de Kort, Inge M.B. Bongers, Joyce Bierbooms, Wanda Kruijt, Mark de Graaf, Joyce H.D.M. Westerink, Wijnand A. IJsselsteijn

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractAcademic

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Background:Online and mobile technologies offer major opportunities in supporting mental healthcare. Online treatment carries several distinct advantages and convincing evidence is available for its clinical efficacy. However, adoption rates of online tools in clinical practice remain low. Our work is aimed to support mental healthcare professionals in exploring eHealth options, and to address some of the inherent limitations of eHealth technology – specifically in mediated interpersonal communication.

Methods:Knowledge and experience of mental healthcare professionals regarding eHealth tools were probed using in-depth interviews (N=12). Insights drawn from these interviews were structured by developing a levels-of-adoption model, and will be used to inform ways to enhance online treatment tools.

Findings: From the data, several drivers and barriers to the adoption of online treatment emerged. Main barriers consist of lack of skills, knowledge and experience regarding eHealth tools, as well as technological issues and lack of organizational support. Perceived drivers include the acceleration of the treatment process, increased intimacy of the therapeutic relationship, and new treatment possibilities. All participants emphasized that a minimum amount of face-to-face contact is vital to the quality of their treatment, indicating that current technological solutions do not entirely address their needs. Moreover, it was found that the particular drivers and barriers that are experienced differ between psychologists, depending on the extent to which they have adopted online treatment.

Discussion: Based on the current findings we can already identify several potential design improvements to current eHealth technologies to ameliorate experienced barriers. In addition, our results also provide inspiration for novel ways to enhance online treatment tools, including the use of social biofeedback and virtual reality. In the end, our project will develop a game-based environment that challenges and supports therapists to playfully explore a variety of online tools, allowing them to improve their skills in online psychological treatment.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2018
EventSupporting Health by Technology 2018 - Van der Valk Hotel, Enschede, Netherlands
Duration: 1 Jun 20181 Jun 2018


ConferenceSupporting Health by Technology 2018
Abbreviated titleHealth by Tech
Internet address


  • EHealth
  • adoption of innovation
  • Mental healthcare


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