Implementation Barriers and Experiences of Eligible Patients Who Failed to Enroll in Collaborative Care for Depression and Anxiety

Emily Fu, Allison J. Carroll, Lisa J. Rosenthal, Jeffrey Rado, Inger Burnett-Zeigler, Neil Jordan, Andrew D. Carlo, Adaora Ekwonu, Ariella Kust, C. Hendricks Brown, John G. Csernansky, Justin D. Smith*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Effective and efficient implementation of the Collaborative Care Model (CoCM) for depression and anxiety is imperative for program success. Studies examining barriers to implementation often omit patient perspectives. Objectives: To explore experiences and attitudes of eligible patients referred to CoCM who declined participation or were unable to be reached, and identify implementation barriers to inform strategies. Design: Convergent mixed-methods study with a survey and interview. Participants: Primary care patients at an academic medical center who were referred to a CoCM program for anxiety and depression by their primary care clinician (PCC) but declined participation or were unable to be reached by the behavioral health care manager to initiate care (n = 80). Interviews were conducted with 45 survey respondents. Main Measures: Survey of patients’ referral experiences and behavioral health preferences as they related to failing to enroll in the program. Interview questions were developed using the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research version 2.0 (CFIR 2.0) to identify implementation barriers to enrollment. Key Results: Survey results found that patients were uncertain about insurance coverage, did not understand the program, and felt services were not necessary. Referred patients who declined participation were concerned about how their mental health information would be used and preferred treatment without medication. Men agreed more that they did not need services. Qualitative results exhibited a variety of implementation determinants (n = 23) across the five CFIR 2.0 domains. Barriers included mental health stigma, perceiving behavioral health as outside of primary care practice guidelines, short or infrequent primary care appointments, prioritizing physical health over mental health, receiving inaccurate program information, low motivation to engage, and a less established relationship with their PCC. Conclusions: Multiple barriers to enrollment led to failing to link patients to care, which can inform implementation strategies to address the patient-reported experiences and concerns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)366-374
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of general internal medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2023


  • anxiety
  • collaborative care
  • depression
  • implementation science
  • primary care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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