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Comput Inform Nurs. 2009 Mar-Apr;27(2):93-8. doi: 10.1097/NCN.0b013e3181972a0d.

Electronic screening for mental health in rural primary care: feasibility and user testing.

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  • 1School of Nursing, Department of Systems and Information Engineering, and Division of General Medicine, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22908-0782, USA.


Despite attention to prevention and screening for depression and alcohol use, Healthy People 2010 objectives continue to include goals to increase the detection of depression and decrease the rates of alcohol abuse. These problems remain significant. The overall goal of this study was to develop a computer-based electronic screening (eScreening) tool and determine the feasibility of implementing computer-based eScreening technology for rural visitors to a primary care clinic. The study called specifically for an electronic touch screen with voice prompts. This tool, called the eScreening tool, screens for alcohol abuse and depression among rural patients in a primary care setting. The screening was offered to rural adults who are not in acute distress and not at end of life, regardless of their stated reason for seeking medical care. Phase 1 of the pilot was used to determine the perceptions of nurses, other providers, and consumers regarding the acceptability and perceived usefulness of an eScreening tool. Phase 2 involved user testing of the eScreening tool. The longer term goals of the research program are to work with rural nurses to improve patient outcomes and develop interventions and for educational, consultation, and/or direct clinical care.

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