Clinic staff attitudes towards the use of mhealth technology to conduct perinatal depression screenings: A qualitative study

Maria Pineros-Leano, Karen M. Tabb, Heather Sears, Brandon Meline, Hsiang Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background. The use of mHealth technology is an innovative approach for screening low-income mothers for depression. Past studies show that the use of technology removes barriers such as literacy issues, language challenges, concerns about privacy and lack of transportation and can also increase reliability. However, little is known about staff attitudes and perceptions towards using mHealth technology for screening low-income women for depression in clinics. Methods. Four focus groups were conducted with staff members in a supplemental nutrition program for women, infants and children located in a public health clinic. A semi-structured focus group interview guide was used to examine staff perceptions related to depression screening with tablet technology. All interviews were audio recorded and transcribed verbatim. Thematic analysis was used to analyse all focus group data. Results. Three major benefits and two major barriers were found. The benefits of using technology for perinatal depression screenings were reduction of literacy and language barriers, reduction of redundancy and errors and increased privacy for clients. The barriers were increased network issues and responsibility for technology, which included fear of the devices being lost, stolen or broken. Implications. Before implementing mHealth tablet technology for depression screening in a public health clinic, it is important to address the concerns of staff members to make the transition more effective. This study provides timely information on staff-perceived benefits and barriers when implementing mHealth technology in a public health setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)211-215
Number of pages5
JournalFamily Practice
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015


  • Depression screening
  • Mhealth technology
  • Perinatal
  • Public health clinic
  • WIC

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice

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