Protocol for the implementation and assessment of “moodup”: A stepped care model assisted by a digital platform to accelerate access to mental health care for cancer patients amid the covid-19 pandemic

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Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic has important consequences for the mental health of populations. Patients with cancer, already at risk for poor mental health outcomes, are not expected to be spared from these consequences, prompting the need for health services to improve responsiveness. This article presents the research protocol for an implementation study designed to describe the uptake of a well-studied and recognized system for the treatment of depression and anxiety (Stepped-care) during the specific context of a Pandemic in an oncological site. The system set-up will be assisted by a digital platform (MoodUP), where patients undergoing cancer treatment will be screened for anxiety and depressive symptoms, triaged by severity level and algorithm-matched to recommended interventions. Patients undergoing cancer treatment at a cancer clinic in Portugal will be invited to subscribe to the MoodUP platform where they will complete a self-reported questionnaire (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale) to screen their anxiety and depressive symptoms. Data will be instantly collected, and an algorithm will activate severity-matched intervention suggestions, through a case manager that will coordinate care. The specific objectives of this study will be to describe the implementation and acceptability of the care system by patients and staff, the barriers to and facilitators of implementation, the proportion of patients accessing the system and their pathways through the various stepped-care interventions, and patient perceptions regarding the feasibility and appropriateness of the eHealth platform. Moreover, exploratory analyses will be conducted to describe patterns of anxiety and depression symptoms variation across all patients, as well as within sociodemographically, clinically and contextually characterized subgroups, to characterize their care needs and access, as well as to explore for whom the MoodUP care system may be more appropriate. This study is expected to improve processes for collaborative mental healthcare in oncology and accelerate the digitalization of services, towards the improvement of mental healthcare access, and management of high-risk patients, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4629
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume18
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2021

Keywords

  • Anxiety
  • Collaborative healthcare
  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • Depression
  • Mental health
  • Oncology

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