Preparing a Workforce of Care Coordinators to Address Patient Mental Health Needs in the Digital Age: Training and Needs Identification

SAGE Open Nurs. 2023 May 2:9:23779608231173279. doi: 10.1177/23779608231173279. eCollection 2023 Jan-Dec.


Introduction: Care coordinators (CCs) are specialized healthcare providers and often the primary point of contact for patients with multiple medical and mental health comorbidities in integrated healthcare settings. Prior work shows CCs have lower comfort addressing mental health than physical health concerns. Digital mental health interventions can support CCs' management of patient mental health needs, but training gaps must be addressed prior to a digital mental health intervention's implementation.

Methods: As part of a quality improvement initiative, a 1-hour training focused on the assessment and management of depression and suicide-related thoughts and behaviors was delivered to CCs within a large midwestern healthcare system's Division of Ambulatory Care Coordination. CCs completed online surveys prior to and following the training.

Conclusion: Training resulted in increased comfort working with clinical populations, including patients who experience suicide-related thoughts and behaviors. Gains around screening for suicide risk were modest. Brief trainings for CCs can address training gaps, however, ongoing training and case consultation may also be indicated.

Keywords: implementation; mental health; suicide prevention; technology enabled services.