New Web-Based System Analyzes Mental Health -- MEDICA - World Forum for Medicine

CelestHealth is new technology, based on a paper questionnaire previously developed by the researchers. "The new Web-based system is a giant leap towards patients managing their own mental health using immediate electronic feedback," said Mark Kopta, Chair of the Department of Psychology, University of Evansville. "Physicians can more accurately and much more quickly assess mental disorders so that the best medication can be provided."

Kopta indicated the main reason for the new web-based system was speed of diagnosis. The paper version could be taken and scored in about 20 minutes, while the computer version can be completed in just a little over 1/10 of the time. "Having results available in a matter of seconds when a patient is still in the office, is significant and can make a huge difference in certain cases," notes Kopta.

The system works similarly to a blood test in medicine, according to its developers. The patient completes the questionnaire on a web site or using a PDA. The psychotherapist or physician as well as the patient are then immediately provided with a colour-coded mental health profile that accurately assesses the different components of mental health:

•Well-Being—motivation, energy, and life satisfaction;

•Psychological Symptoms—anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, eating disorder, drug/alcohol abuse, suicide, and danger to others;

•Areas of Life Functioning—work/school, intimate relationships, social relationships, and life enjoyment.

Additionally, the system features special alerts. For example, the Suicide Tracking Scale allows the clinician to immediately see if the patient is at risk to harm himself. It also features the Psychotherapy Risk scale that warns the clinician—before treatment begins—whether the patient is at risk to respond poorly to psychotherapy.; Source: University of Evansville