Pediatric eMental healthcare technologies: a systematic review of implementation foci in research studies, and government and organizational documents Journal Articles uri icon

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  • BACKGROUND: Researchers, healthcare planners, and policymakers convey a sense of urgency in using eMental healthcare technologies to improve pediatric mental healthcare availability and access. Yet, different stakeholders may focus on different aspects of implementation. We conducted a systematic review to identify implementation foci in research studies and government/organizational documents for eMental healthcare technologies for pediatric mental healthcare. METHODS: A search of eleven electronic databases and grey literature was conducted. We included research studies and documents from organization and government websites if the focus included eMental healthcare technology for children/adolescents (0-18 years), and implementation was studied and reported (research studies) or goals/recommendations regarding implementation were made (documents). We assessed study quality using the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool and document quality using the Appraisal of Guidelines for Research & Evaluation II. Implementation information was grouped according to Proctor and colleagues' implementation outcomes-acceptability, adoption, appropriateness, cost, feasibility, fidelity, penetration, and sustainability-and grouped separately for studies and documents. RESULTS: Twenty research studies and nine government/organizational documents met eligibility criteria. These articles represented implementation of eMental healthcare technologies in the USA (14 studies), United Kingdom (2 documents, 3 studies), Canada (2 documents, 1 study), Australia (4 documents, 1 study), New Zealand (1 study), and the Netherlands (1 document). The quality of research studies was excellent (n = 11), good (n = 6), and poor (n = 1). These eMental health studies focused on the acceptability (70%, n = 14) and appropriateness (50%, n = 10) of eMental healthcare technologies to users and mental healthcare professionals. The quality of government and organizational documents was high (n = 2), medium (n = 6), and low (n = 1). These documents focused on cost (100%, n = 9), penetration (89%, n = 8), feasibility (78%, n = 7), and sustainability (67%, n = 6) of implementing eMental healthcare technology. CONCLUSION: To date, research studies have largely focused on acceptability and appropriateness, while government/organizational documents state goals and recommendations regarding costs, feasibility, and sustainability of eMental healthcare technologies. These differences suggest that the research evidence available for pediatric eMental healthcare technologies does not reflect the focus of governments and organizations. Partnerships between researchers, healthcare planners, and policymakers may help to align implementation research with policy development, decision-making, and funding foci.


  • Gehring, Nicole D
  • McGrath, Patrick
  • Wozney, Lori
  • Soleimani, Amir
  • Bennett, Kathryn Jane
  • Hartling, Lisa
  • Huguet, Anna
  • Dyson, Michele P
  • Newton, Amanda S

publication date

  • December 2017