Barriers and facilitators to implementing measurement-based care for depression in Shanghai, China: a situational analysis

BMC Psychiatry. 2021 Sep 1;21(1):430. doi: 10.1186/s12888-021-03442-5.


Background: Measurement-based care (MBC) is an evidence-based practice for depression, but its use by clinicians remains low. Enhanced MBC (eMBC), which uses digital technologies, can help to facilitate the use of MBC by clinicians and patients. Understanding factors that act as barriers and drivers to the implementation of MBC and eMBC is important to support the design of implementation strategies, promoting uptake by clinicians and patients.

Objective: This situational analysis identifies barriers and facilitators to the implementation of standard and eMBC at mental health centers in Shanghai, China.

Methods: We used mixed methods to develop a comprehensive understanding of the factors influencing MBC and eMBC implementation in Shanghai. This study took place across three mental health centers in Shanghai. We used situational analysis tools to collect contextual information about the three centers, conducted surveys with n = 116 clinicians and n = 301 patients, conducted semi-structured interviews with n = 30 clinicians and six focus groups with a total of n = 19 patients. Surveys were analysed using descriptive statistics, and semi-structured interviews and focus groups were analysed using framework analysis.

Results: Several potential barriers and facilitators to MBC and eMBC implementation were identified. Infrastructure, cost, attitudes and beliefs, and perceptions about feasibility and efficacy emerged as both challenges and drivers to MBC and eMBC implementation in Shanghai.

Conclusions: The results of this study will directly inform the design of an implementation strategy for MBC and eMBC in Shanghai, that will be tested via a randomized controlled trial. This study contributes to the emerging body of literature on MBC implementation and, to the best of our knowledge, is the first such study to take place in Asia. This study identifies several factors that are relevant to the equitable delivery of MBC, recognizing the need to explicitly address equity concerns in global mental health implementation research.

Keywords: Depression; Digital health; Global mental health; Implementation; Measurement-based care; Situational analysis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • China
  • Depression*
  • Focus Groups
  • Humans
  • Mental Health*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires

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