Mental health will affect one in five Canadians every year, and with so many people being treated there are large amounts of data being collected; however in many cases there are no standards around that collection, creating problems for healthcare providers offering support.
One Montreal-based psychiatric hospital has found a software solution that has helped not only standardize its data, but improve treatment plans and increase admissions by 82 per cent.
The Montreal West Island Integrated University Health and Social Services Centre, formerly known as Douglas Mental Health University Institute, is working with Toronto-based software company AcuteNet Inc. to create a standardized data collection and analysis system that has had significant, positive outcomes, helping the clinic improve its conformity rate for mental health patient treatments and meet provincial requirements that mandates care plans.
By using AcuteNet’s software, the clinic was able to access a standardized data collection system that provides key assessments on psychiatric, social, environmental and medical issues at patient intake. The system, Resident Assessment Instrument for Mental Health (RAI) is intended to help mental health care providers with planning, quality improvement and measuring outcomes. It’s also the winner of the Not-for-profit category Ingenious Award hosted by the Information Technology Association of Canada.
The Douglas Institute used the system and AcuteNet’s interRAI Clinical Assessment tool to automate personalized care plans and used the database to improve conformity across its platform. Gilbert Tremblay, psychologist and black belt lean Six Sigma agent, who helped the Douglas Institute get this clinical mental health program off the ground, says using the RAI data was important to the project but it would not have been possible without the applications from AcuteNet.
He told ITWC that the RAI system has many complicated algorithms built in that the clinic would not have been able to use or calculate on its own. “If we had not had an application, the project would just not have happened.”
Through the partnership with AcuteNet, Tremblay says he has seen significant improvements at the clinic, specifically in patient care. “Using the RAI and the [AcuteNet] application, we were able to raise the conformity rate percentage of our charts from eight per cent up to 50 per cent within the first 18 months.” The application also reduced the average length of stay and the need for control measures (such as medication, and physical restraints) by 10 per cent respectively and also increased the rate of admission by 50 per cent.
One important reason the Douglas Institute used AcuteNet’s services for the project was because the application allowed it to add a customized algorithm, that the Douglas Institute used to automate the treatment plan process. According to Tremblay, no other application on the market offered this feature.
Other key reasons included AcuteNet’s technology being fully bilingual, which was important for the clinic’s patients and staff as well as the cost of the application.
A technology consumption model healthcare can afford
As a software as a service provider (SaaS), AcuteNet offers its products on payment plans that Fariba Anderson, CEO of AcuteNet, says makes more sense for cash-strapped healthcare providers.
“I basically realized, it was just a light bulb that went off in my head, that healthcare is the best place to bring the concept of the sharing economy among enterprises,” she told IT World Canada.
Instead of charging customers per usage, the software companies offers its products like interRAI Clinical Assessment on monthly payment plan for unlimited usage that charges by patient, with the more patients a customer has, the less they pay per patient.
Tremblay says this has made Acutenet’s application very appealing when comparing it to competitors.
The partnership was already proven to be such a success that Tremblay says they have expanded the using the tool in two other facilities for outpatient psychiatric clinics. After implementing the data collection application at the second facility, the conformity rate was around 90 per cent in only four months.
Tremblay told IT World Canada he hopes to continue to expand on the project and create further efficiencies using AcuteNet’s software, including developing a personalized dashboard that would be embedded in the application.