A qualitative exploration of the feasibility of incorporating depression apps into integrated primary care clinics

Danae Dinkel, Jennifer Harsh Caspari, Louis Fok, Maxine Notice, David J. Johnson, Shinobu Watanabe-Galloway, Margaret Emerson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The use of mobile applications or “apps” is beginning to be identified as a potential cost-effective tool for treating depression. While the use of mobile apps for health management appears promising, little is known on how to incorporate these tools into integrated primary care settings—especially from the viewpoints of patients and the clinic personnel. The purpose of this study was to explore patient- and clinic-level perceptions of the use of depression self-management apps within an integrated primary care setting. Patients (n = 17), healthcare providers, and staff (n = 15) completed focus groups or semi-structured interviews in-person or via Zoom between January and July 2020. Participants were asked about barriers and facilitators to app use, how to best integrate it into care, and reviewed pre-selected mental health apps. Data were analyzed using a directed content analysis approach. From a patient perspective, features within the app such as notifications, the provision of information, easy navigation, and a chat/support function as well as an ability to share data with their doctor were desirable. Providers and staff identified integration of app data into electronic health records to be able to share data with patients and the healthcare team as well as clear evidence of effectiveness as factors that could facilitate implementation. All participants who reviewed apps identified at least one of them they would be interested in continuing to use. Overall, patients, healthcare providers, and staff believed depression apps could be beneficial for both patients and the clinic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1708-1716
Number of pages9
JournalTranslational behavioral medicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2021


  • Depression
  • Mental health
  • Mobile apps
  • Primary care
  • Qualitative

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'A qualitative exploration of the feasibility of incorporating depression apps into integrated primary care clinics'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this