McGee-Vincent P, Mackintosh M, Jamison A, Juhasz K, Becket-Davenport C, Bosch J, Avery T, Glamb L, Hampole S. Training Staff Across the Veterans Affairs Health Care System to Use Mobile Mental Health Apps: A National Quality Improvement Project. JMIR Ment Health 2023;10:e41773 DOI: 10.2196/41773
This paper described and evaluated a training program for staff in the Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare system to increase the reach of mobile mental health apps for veterans. Sites from all VA’s geographic regions were enrolled in this study with at least 25 staff members with direct contact with veterans recruited to participate. A total of 1110 staff from 19 VA sites completed the training program. Sixty-seven percent of participants provided mental health care. Staff training was delivered via a live, web-based format and consisted of a 3-hour core module for all staff and 1-hour module designed specifically for mental health clinicians. Program reach, satisfaction, and effectiveness of the training were assessed pre- and post-training by staff self-reported surveys. Most participants (93.9%) were satisfied with the training and 92.4% would recommend it to other staff. Knowledge about mobile apps and confidence in ability to demonstrate to veterans how to install and use mental health apps significantly increased after training (p<.001). Participants also expressed motivation to refer veterans to apps and encourage other VA staff to share apps with veterans. Overall, this study exceeded their recruitment target, indicating a higher-than-anticipated interest among staff. Further, the training program was well received and effective in promoting awareness about and motivation to recommend mobile health apps. About a third of participants came from other settings besides mental health, which suggests the value of VA mental health apps across the healthcare system. Future work is needed to evaluate the extent to which providers follow up on recommending mobile health apps to patients and patients accessing the mobile health apps.