Re:Connect ? A Web-Based Tool for Collaborative HIV Care

Period of Performance: 09/07/2016 - 09/06/2017


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Center for Social Innovation, LLC
Needham, MA 02494
Principal Investigator
Principal Investigator


? DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): People living with HIV (PLHIV) experience high rates of mental health and substance use conditions; left untreated, behavioral health issues can lead to poor health outcomes. Research indicates that PLHIV and co- occurring behavioral health conditions have lower levels of treatment engagement and adherence, and higher rates of HIV-related morbidity and mortality. Person-centered care (PCC) approaches are being used in behavioral health and HIV primary care settings as a strategy to strengthen client engagement and adherence. PCC approaches often require that providers and clients acquire new knowledge and skills and change their attitudes about the nature of the provider-client relationship. However, no web-based training tools exist to address co-occurring HIV and behavioral health conditions using PCC. In response, the Center for Social Innovation and the University of Maryland School of Medicine propose to develop and test a Re:Connect - A Web-Based Tool for Collaborative HIV Care, an interactive, multimedia tool to support the collaborative process of PCC. Two versions of the tool will be developed and evaluated, one tailored to the needs of HIV care providers and the second to individuals in HIV clinics who may have co-occurring behavioral health conditions. Both versions of the tool will feature presentations, interactive lessons, and practice exercises using principles of adult learning. Re:Connect will guide both providers and PLHIV to develop a more collaborative approach to treatment for HIV and behavioral health services through a series of engaging multimedia exercises and demonstrations. The specific aims of the proposed project are to: 1) Develop a prototype of Re:Connect, to enhance HIV treatment engagement and adherence among PLHIV and co-occurring behavioral health conditions; 2) Conduct pilot testing to determine feasibility, acceptability, and potential usefulness of using Re:Connect to improve treatment engagement and adherence; and 3) Synthesize findings to demonstrate proof of concept for Phase II. This formative evaluation will use mixed methods to explore the feasibility, acceptability, and potential usefulness of Re:Connect. We will recruit 15 HIV treatment providers (physicians, nurses, social workers) and 15 PLHIV receiving services at the Evelyn Jordan Center in Baltimore, Maryland. All participants will access the provider- or client-version of the online too. Research participants will complete surveys at baseline and after completing Re:Connect. Participants will also participate in semi- structured interviews to qualitatively explore their experiences using the tool. Data will guide revisions to the tool and inform research design for a larger Phase II study.