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Real-time, evidence-based information at clinicians' fingertips to streamline mental health care

(Toronto, ON) May 12, 2010 Mental health, the second leading cause of disability and premature death in Canada, impacts the lives of every Canadian, much like technology. Mental health and technology are now being brought together with an innovative tool developed by University of Toronto Bloomberg nursing researchers in collaboration with Toronto-based software development company HInext and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). This tool has the potential to improve mental health care planning in Ontario and beyond.

The e-Volution-TREAT system simplifies the integration of evidence-based research with care planning at point-of-care for people living with mental illness. The web-based electronic application pulls best practice information together and presents it to clinicians as they assess client information, allowing them to incorporate the information into their treatment plan.

A recent pilot study at CAMH using the e-Volution-TREAT system led by Dr. Diane Doran, Scientific Director of the Nursing Health Services Research Unit, U of T site, evaluated the usability of the system and found early results to be encouraging.

"Clinicians can benefit greatly by having evidence-based information at their fingertips. There is so much new research and information available that it's often hard for clinicians to keep track of it all. This tool allows clinicians to easily integrate current and reliable treatment options into their care plans. We expect patients will benefit from achieving better health outcomes" says Doran.

The e-Volution TREAT application is an integral part of the full electronic documentation suite provided by HInext, including care plans, progress notes and over 100 different kinds of assessments. One of the novel features of the system is an "intervention window" that provides a list of best-practice guidelines to be considered for that client's needs based on the clinical assessment. The clinician can then easily select the most appropriate interventions for each client.

Many patients with mental illness struggle with an array of concurrent disorders such as schizophrenia, depression, and addictions, in addition to other health ailments. The varying complications related to mental health underscore the importance of incorporating evidence-based information into personalized care plans.

The pilot study included 37 participants from two inpatient units over four months, and indicated that clinicians found the e-Volution-TREAT system easy to use. One nurse participant said, "It is a good resourcethe content is right there, where I need it, which I like very much."

Jane Paterson, CAMH Deputy of Chief Professional Services, says that this tool has the ability to enhance the care provided to clients experiencing mental health and addiction problems. "There is so much knowledge available to clinicians, and having the ability to access the most up-to-date research and best practice guidelines at the point of care can really enhance the treatment we provide."


Contact: Tammy Thorne
University of Toronto

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