Laura Ospina-Pinillos , MD , 1 , 2 , Tracey A Davenport , EMBA, BA (Hons) 1 , Alvaro Andres Navarro-Mancilla , MD, MIPH 3 , Vanessa Wan Sze Cheng , BSc, MPhil 1 , Andrés Camilo Cardozo Alarcón , MD, MPH 2 , Andres M Rangel , MD, MSc 4 , German Eduardo Rueda-Jaimes , MD 3 , 5 , Carlos Gomez-Restrepo , MD, MSc, PhD 2 , 6 , Ian B Hickie , AM, MD, FRANZCP, FASSA 1
6 February 2020
Colombia, telemedicine, medical informatics, eHealth, mental health, cultural characteristics, cultural competency, ethnic groups, quality of health care, community-based participatory research, primary health care, patient participation, patient preference, patient satisfaction, consumer health information, methods, research design
Health information technologies (HITs) hold enormous promise for improving access to and providing better quality of mental health care. However, despite the spread of such technologies in high-income countries, these technologies have not yet been commonly adopted in low- and middle-income countries. People living in these parts of the world are at risk of experiencing physical, technological, and social health inequalities. A possible solution is to utilize the currently available HITs developed in other counties.
Using participatory design methodologies with Colombian end users (young people, their supportive others, and health professionals), this study aimed to conduct co-design workshops to culturally adapt a Web-based Mental Health eClinic (MHeC) for young people, perform one-on-one user-testing sessions to evaluate an alpha prototype of a Spanish version of the MHeC and adapt it to the Colombian context, and inform the development of a skeletal framework and alpha prototype for a Colombian version of the MHeC (MHeC-C).
This study involved the utilization of a research and development (R&D) cycle including 4 iterative phases: co-design workshops; knowledge translation; tailoring to language, culture, and place (or context); and one-on-one user-testing sessions.
A total of 2 co-design workshops were held with 18 users—young people (n=7) and health professionals (n=11). Moreover, 10 users participated in one-on-one user-testing sessions—young people (n=5), supportive others (n=2), and health professionals (n=3). A total of 204 source documents were collected and 605 annotations were coded. A thematic analysis resulted in 6 themes (ie, opinions about the MHeC-C, Colombian context, functionality, content, user interface, and technology platforms). Participants liked the idea of having an MHeC designed and adapted for Colombian young people, and its 5 key elements were acceptable in this context (home page and triage system, self-report assessment, dashboard of results, booking and video-visit system, and personalized well-being plan). However, to be relevant in Colombia, participants stressed the need to develop additional functionality (eg, phone network backup; chat; geolocation; and integration with electronic medical records, apps, or electronic tools) as well as an adaptation of the self-report assessment. Importantly, the latter not only included language but also culture and context.
The application of an R&D cycle that also included processes for adaptation to Colombia (language, culture, and context) resulted in the development of an evidence-based, language-appropriate, culturally sensitive, and context-adapted HIT that is relevant, applicable, engaging, and usable in both the short and long term. The resultant R&D cycle allowed for the adaptation of an already available HIT (ie, MHeC) to the MHeC-C—a low-cost and scalable technology solution for low- and middle-income countries like Colombia, which has the potential to provide young people with accessible, available, affordable, and integrated mental health care at the right time.