Improving mental health outcomes through digital care coordination

Nalaka Withanage Community Health

Each year, we mark World Mental Health Day to improve mental health awareness, education and advocacy worldwide. And for a good reason, too. Did you know that the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare estimates that, each year, around 20% of all adult Australians will suffer from some form of mental health illness? It’s more important than ever that we embrace digital technology, such as digital care coordination to improve mental health outcomes.

The increase in mental health conditions among Australians is putting greater pressure on healthcare practitioners in both acute and community-based services. Current figures show there are only 10.5 full-time clinical psychiatrists for every 100,000 people across the nation. Clinicians are challenged to produce ever-increasing levels of clinical documentation while balancing legal and care coordination requirements. A digital care coordination solution enables better communication between care provider and their clients as well as clinicians. Ultimately it can deliver person-centred care at scale.

A few years ago, at Data Capture Experts, we witnessed the information management challenges faced by health service providers from the paper-based clinical documentation. We focused on taking the “process-centric” approach of solving the problem by capturing data at every stage of a person’s engagement with the health service from the point of entry to discharge, and DC2Vue® was born.

The platform is designed to capture accurate and comprehensive clinical accounts. It is able to accurately keep track of an individual’s interaction with the service from the initial referral to when they get discharged. A major benefit of using digital technology in this way is the real-time access it provides to essential information across multiple service settings and teams regardless of the condition and geographical constraints. With an accurate and up-to-date digital patient record at their fingertips, clinicians and admin staff are empowered to make well-informed decisions.

Today, the DC2Vue® platform has evolved into a comprehensive digital care co-ordination platform which empowers acute, mental health, aged, disability and community care service providers. It’s impressive adoption and performance in Victoria’s Southern Campaspe Loddon Mallee region is transforming the delivery of services to patients across the care continuum.

As a modular digital care coordination software platform it has following features for mental health service providers.

  • Electronic forms (MHA, MHT, CASP) to manage triage, intake assessment, treatment planning, implementation, monitoring & review, discharge planning and community case management support activities with voice recognition, electronic signatures and real-time document generation
  • Configurable workflows for referrals, patient access and flow, communications and patient assignment, orders management, medication administration, clinical documentation and discharge.
  • The timeline view ensures the care delivery team has flexible access to patients’ complete electronic medical record powered by KOFAX TotalAgility smart document capture and HL7 capabilities.
  • Real-time dashboards provide visibility of clinical effectiveness, patient safety, quality improvement and patient engagement.
  • Speed, agility, scalability and enterprise-grade security of Microsoft Azure cloud

The results in Victoria make it clear that harnessing the use of digital technology in a clinical environment helps organisations and staff to effectively bridge the gap that physical distance creates. The focus can shift towards ‘recovery-oriented’ patient care and support which is not only timely, but also remains responsive to the context of an individual’s life, community, changing needs and location.

To anyone working in a health service, we would urge you to consider how the introduction of digital care coordination could transform the way your service is managed and the way your patients are treated.