Optimizing Implementation of Mental Health Intervention within Orthopedic Care

Abby Cheng, MD, MPHS, Assistant Professor, Orthopaedic Surgery

Depression and anxiety heighten musculoskeletal pain and negatively impact outcomes after orthopedic surgery. This phenomenon is especially prevalent in older adults. Our ongoing pilot work demonstrates promise that an established digital mental health intervention (Wysa) can improve orthopedic patients’ mental health symptoms, but we also encountered implementation barriers related to discussing mental health in an orthopedic setting. The long-term goal of this line of research is to enable the provision of true comprehensive care to improve both the physical and mental health of orthopedic patients. The goals of this project are to address the implementation barriers we encountered in our ongoing pilot work and to prepare for a definitive trial to assess the effectiveness of a digital mental health intervention in the context of orthopedic care. The specific aims are to: 1.) identify the contextual determinants of implementation success for addressing patients’ mental health in the context of orthopedic care; 2.) conduct usability testing for two mental health interventions which can feasibly be implemented in a real-world orthopedic setting: a digital mental health intervention (Wysa) and a novel printed resource guide; and 3.) identify the intermediate mechanisms through which a digital mental health intervention (Wysa) improves mental health symptoms in orthopedic patients. Using standard qualitative methods and guided by the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research (CFIR) and the COM-B model of behavior change, two stakeholder groups will be interviewed: orthopedic providers and older adult orthopedic spine patients. In addition to participating in an interview regarding specific needs and preferences for discussing mental health in the setting of orthopedic care, patient stakeholders will also complete usability testing of Wysa and of the novel printed guide of local and online mental health resources. Next, the patient stakeholders will receive one month of access to Wysa. They will complete measures of clinical effectiveness (self- reported depression, anxiety, pain interference, physical function) and hypothesized behavioral targets (behavioral activation, pain acceptance, sleep quality) at baseline and one-month follow-up. The study findings will facilitate design of a subsequent clinical effectiveness trial that is designed for equitable dissemination and effective implementation of mental health intervention within the context of orthopedic care.