Providing online weight management in Primary Care: A mixed methods process evaluation of healthcare practitioners' experiences of using and supporting patients using POWeR+
Smith E., Bradbury K., Scott L., Steele M., Little P., Yardley L.
© 2017 The Author(s). Background: An online weight management intervention (POWeR+) combined with a small amount of primary care healthcare practitioner support is effective in helping patients to lose weight, but little is known about how practitioners interact with the POWeR+ intervention or their experiences of providing support for patients using POWeR+. The aim of this study was to explore practitioners' usage of POWeR+ and their experiences of providing support to patients using POWeR+. Methods: Set within a randomised controlled trial of POWeR+, practitioners' usage of POWeR+ was automatically captured and a qualitative process analysis was conducted employing semi-structured telephone interviews with practitioners who provided support to patients using POWeR+. The usage analysis captured how 54 practitioners used the POWeR+ intervention. Thirteen telephone interviews explored practitioners' experiences of using POWeR+ and providing patients with face-to-face or remote (email and telephone) support. Interview data were analysed using inductive thematic analysis. Results: Usage analysis indicated that almost all practitioners engaged with POWeR+. Pages which displayed patients' progress and allowed practitioners to email patients were used the most. Practitioners found POWeR+ straightforward and easy to use. Some practitioners preferred providing support face-to-face, which they enjoyed more than remote support. A small number of nurses found providing non-directive support using the CARe approach (Congratulate, Ask, Remind) challenging, feeling it was the opposite of their normal approach. POWeR+ enabled practitioners to raise the topic of weight loss with patients, and POWeR+ was viewed as a superior alternative to existing weight management support which was limited in most practices. Still some practitioners found it difficult to fit providing support into their busy schedules. Conclusions: Overall, practitioners engaged well with POWeR+ and perceived providing patients with support whilst using POWeR+ as acceptable and feasible. CARe provides a potentially useful model for how practitioners can combine human and digital support in a cost-effective way, which could be useful for the management of other conditions. Some potential barriers to implementation were identified, which allowed modification of POWeR+. The findings suggest that implementing this cost-effective online weight management intervention in Primary Care would be feasible and acceptable to practitioners. Trial registration: ClinicalTrial.gov, ISRCTN21244703