Human-centered design exploration with Kenyan health workers on proposed digital mental health screening and intervention training development: Thematic analysis of user preferences and needs

Digit Health. 2022 Apr 14:8:20552076221090035. doi: 10.1177/20552076221090035. eCollection 2022 Jan-Dec.


Background: Health providers' perceived sense of knowledge, competency, and self-efficacy to support the needs of their patients contributes to optimal patient health outcomes. With regards to mental health service delivery in Kenya, this area needs further exploration. Guided by the e-health technology acceptance mode, the needs and preferences of health care providers around mental health training for clinical management and their ability to intervene in peripartum adolescent mental health care are explored. We probed how well-equipped service providers are, their engagement with technology to learn and offer services. The health care provider's technology use preferences were also explored.

Method: Guided by a human-centered design-focused qualitative inquiry we interviewed 20 specialists around their needs, perspectives, and preferences for digitized mental health screening and intervention. Mean age was 44.2 years, (range of 32-58 years), 25% (5) males and 75% (15) females. After a written consenting process, the online interviews (30-45 min) were conducted in April 2021, once personal information was de-identified interviews were transcribed and coded. Thematic analysis was used and we combined rapid appraisal of Google Jamboard online storyboards to do individual human-centered design personas alongside.

Results: Our participants were well-exposed to digital technologies. Prohibitive costs of data bundles, lack of funds for consistent online engagement, high workload, and instability of access to appropriate gadgets were found to be barriers to e-health training. Emerging opportunities were well-identified adolescent mental health service and intervention needs, willingness to take online courses offered on learning platforms, and wish for these to be disseminated through diverse social media. Other recommendations were the need to have a user-friendly interface such as data-light engaging and practical materials including animations, short, group-based learning.

Conclusion: Understanding contextual factors that influence perceived usefulness and ease of use of the remote/digital components would be critical for e-training development and its uptake.

Keywords: Human-centered design; health care workers; mental health training and services; peripartum adolescent mental health; technology acceptance model.