Primary Care Clinicians’ Perspectives on Clinical Decision Support to Enhance Outcomes of Online Obesity Treatment in Primary Care: a Qualitative Formative Evaluation

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Online behavioral treatment for obesity produces clinically meaningful weight losses among many primary care patients. However, some patients experience poor outcomes (i.e., failure to enroll post-referral, poor weight loss, or premature disengagement). This study sought to understand primary care clinicians’ perceived utility of a clinical decision support system (CDSS) that would alert clinicians to patients’ risk for poor outcome and guide clinician-delivered rescue interventions to reduce risk. Qualitative formative evaluation was conducted in the context of an ongoing pragmatic clinical trial implementing online obesity treatment in primary care. Interviews were conducted with 14 nurse care managers (NCMs) overseeing patients’ online obesity treatment. Interviews inquired about the potential utility of CDSS in primary care, desired alert frequency/format, and priorities for alert types (non-enrollment, poor weight loss, and/or early disengagement). We used matrix analysis to generate common themes across interviews. Nearly all NCMs viewed CDSS as potentially helpful in clinical practice. Alerts for patients at risk for disengagement were of highest priority, though all alert types were generally viewed as desirable. Regarding frequency and delivery mode of patient alerts, NCMs wanted to balance the need for prompt patient intervention with minimizing clinician burden. Concerns about CDSS emerged, including insufficient time to respond promptly and adequately to alerts and the need to involve other support staff for patients requiring ongoing rescue intervention. NCMs view CDSS for online obesity treatment as potentially feasible and clinically useful. For optimal implementation in primary care, CDSS must minimize clinician burden and facilitate collaborative care.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

Journal of Technology in Behavioral Science