Mental health and addictions helped by eHealth app

Technology in health care is nothing new, but a suite of tools that match mental health and addictions clients with the appropriate resources is proving to be an e-health revelation.

The Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) and Calgary, Alta.-based Strata Health Solutions Inc. recently partnered to implement a suite of tools that do for mental health what was previously done for acute care and residential care, according to VIHA president and CEO, Howard Waldner.

The partnership was the result of a $1.8 million funding grant from Canada Health Infoway’s Innovation and Adoption program.

“A number of authorities had already adopted the technology and seen quite significant system improvement and productivity gains on both the residential care for seniors and homecare areas,” said Waldner. “So built on that success we identified a similar need with our mental health and addictions services here on Vancouver Island.”

At the same time, Canada Health Infoway was looking for potential innovative proposal ideas from health care providers in Canada and the private sector for grant awards, he said.

“We submitted our bid, and we learned we’d been successful.”

Clinicians will be using an assessment tool called Strata PathWays that will present on the Cerner Corp. PowerChart product that VIHA and other health jurisdictions in B.C. use to assess patient needs, said Don Schick, president and CEO of Strata Health Solutions.

“At the point of the assessment the client’s profile will be captured by Pathways,” said Schick. “We’ll have a real-time description of what needs that client has in order to leave hospital or to improve their quality of life.”

At the same time the information provided will capture what resources are available through a simple browser interface, he said. “At any point in time the clinician or their support staff will be able to see what resources are available for that patient.”

The tools also enable the clinicians to formulate a care plan in the correct geographic area, with the appropriate programs to support the client in their every day life, he said.

“And that is then matched in real-time, it’s accepted with the click of a mouse, and that client can then be admitted to that program…on the mental health side that hasn’t been done to our knowledge anywhere in the world.”

Waldner said there are several benefits this system will bring to both clinicians and patients.

“It will mean a much better experience for the patient,” he said. “It’s also an automated real-time, updated, accurate process which takes away the human error component, and it fully integrates with other aspects of the care continuum — so it’s a one stop-shop.”

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