Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



BMC health services research [electronic resource]








BACKGROUND: Inadequate identification and treatment of substance use (SU) and mental health (MH) disorders hinders retention in HIV care. The objective of this study was to elicit stakeholder input on integration of SU/MH screening using computer-assisted patient-reported outcomes (PROs) into clinical practice.

METHODS: We conducted semi-structured interviews with HIV-positive patients who self-reported SU/MH symptoms on a computer-assisted PROs (n = 19) and HIV primary care providers (n = 11) recruited from an urban academic HIV clinic. Interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed. We iteratively developed codes and organized key themes using editing style analysis.

RESULTS: Two themes emerged: (1) Honest Disclosure: Some providers felt PROs might improve SU/MH disclosure; more were concerned that patients would not respond honestly if their provider saw the results. Patients were also divided, stating PROs could help overcome stigma but that it could be harder to disclose SU/MH to a computer versus a live person. (2) Added Value in the Clinical Encounter: Most providers felt PROs would fill a practice gap. Patients had concerns regarding confidentiality but indicated PROs would help providers take better care of them.

CONCLUSIONS: Both patients and providers indicated that PROs are potentially useful clinical tools to improve detection of SU/MH. However, patients and providers expressed conflicting viewpoints about disclosure of SU/MH using computerized PROs. Future studies implementing PROs screening interventions must assess concerns over confidentiality and honest disclosure of SU/MH to understand the effectiveness of PROs as a clinical tool. More research is also needed on patient-centered integration of the results of PROs in HIV care.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Peer Reviewed


Open Access