How NovoPsych helps gather useful feedback – Reimagining Healthcare Podcast

In this podcast episode we discuss why outcome measurements should focus on Australian requirements, and how the recent and sudden transformation towards telehealth can be easily adapted to using NovoPsych. Ben provides some guidance on what a telehealth workflow could look like, and how to implement automation with remote symptom monitoring of patients between visits or after treatment.

Listen to the podcast here: Reimagining Healthcare

 Key takeaways:

  1. In Australia, one of the most widely used assessments to measure mental health outcomes is called the K10 — also known as the ‘Kessler Psychological Distress Scale’. Australia regulations of mental health practitioners require some outcome monitoring to occur. NovoPsych has been tailored to fit the exact purpose that Australian mental health conditions need.
  2. Healthcare is a service industry, in which it’s just as important to provide a service that the client is happy with as it is to improve clinical outcomes.
  3. One of the number one predictors of treatment success for mental health patients is the ‘therapeutic alliance’, i.e. the relationship between the psychologist and the client. If the client trusts the psychologist then that is a serious predictor of later outcomes.
  4. Practitioners often have to rely on their intuition to get a sense about whether the client is benefitting from the treatment. However, the research evidence shows that trained professionals are terrible at using intuition to accurately measure how their clients are going.
  5. Within NovoPsych there are therapeutic alliance measures that can tell the psychologist from the get-go whether they’re reaching their client or not, so adjustments can be made in the early stages of treatment.
Dr Ben Buchanan is a psychologist and Co-founder & Director of NovoPsych, an Australian healthtech company providing software for administering psychological, remote and online questionnaires to patients. As a trained clinical psychologist, Ben is passionate about clinicians evaluating their own practice through the use of routine outcome monitoring, which is why he created NovoPsych.

Graph Symptoms Over Time.

With NovoPsych you can graph results over time so you can visually monitor symptoms changing from session to session. All you need to do is administer the same assessment to a client more than once, and you’ll get a nice graph!

The most popular scales for outcome monitoring on NovoPsych are the DASS-21, K10, or CORE-10. I’d recommend having a look at all three and then choosing which one will suit you best, then be consistent with it. Personally, I administer the DASS-21 in session 1, 3, 6, and then every second session thereafter.

Dass-21 graph
Above is an example of what the graphs look like for the DASS-21, with the results showing reduced symptoms over time. On the Y axis is the percentile rank derived from a community normative sample, indicating how this individual scored in comparison to the general population. The graph shows a stress score on the 99th percentile on the first administration of the test, with depression and anxiety being in the subclinical range (below the 90th percentile).  The 50th percentile indicates that this person experienced symptoms no more or less than the average person in the community, while percentile scores above 90 indicate clinically significant symptoms. Overall the graph shows symptoms reduced significantly over time!

Many NovoPsych users take a screenshot of the graph and then include it in their letters to a referring GP.
Screen Shot 2020-06-02 at 11.29.43 am

Doctors appreciate receiving letters with graphs, because they can clearly see how the patient is tracking. Clients love it too, because graphing symptoms over time gives clients an objective representation of their distress and provides personalised evidence of the benefits of treatment. Moreover, research shows that regular use of outcome measures may increase engagement and improve the therapeutic relationship, thereby increasing the efficacy of treatment. 

I hope find this information helpful!

Dr Ben Buchanan

BA (Hons), GradDipPsych, DPsych, MAPS
Co-founder & Director of NovoPsych Pty Ltd