This study utilized qualitative focus groups with rural health providers and patients to explore barriers to implementation of a technology-based mental health intervention for the treatment of depression in a primary care setting. A randomized controlled trial (RCT) was implemented in both urban and rural primary care practices to test the feasibility and effectiveness of computerized cognitive behavioral therapy (CCBT) for depression. Early implementation identified lower rates of willingness to participate in the intervention by rural patients. Subsequently, focus groups were conducted with rural providers and patients to explore barriers to participation and strategies to overcome these barriers in future implementation efforts. Two focus groups of five to seven participants each were conducted to understand patient experiences. Groups lasted approximately one hour and were recorded and transcribed for coding purposes. Key themes identified about barriers to use of CCBT by rural patients emerged included: 1) technical barriers, 2) stigma, 3) distrust of outsiders, 4) effort/motivational barriers, and 5) staff resistance/frustration. Conversely, several positive themes related to supports for CCBT also emerged, including: 1) readiness to change/symptom severity, 2) program supports and incentives, 3) clinician support, 4) components of the intervention, and 5) individual patient characteristics.

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