Automate mental health screening with Ocean


May is Mental Health Awareness Month in Canada. Throughout the month, we will highlight content such as this blog post and mental health questionnaires in the Ocean Library. Follow along on our social to stay in touch!

With an estimated one in five Canadians experiencing mental health problems or illness, mental health screening is increasingly being integrated into primary care settings in Canada as part of a broader shift towards a more integrated and comprehensive approach to healthcare. In this post, we highlight two ways primary care providers are using digital health tools like Ocean to integrate mental health screening into their primary care practice.

Tablets and Kiosks: Reduce the workload of paper-based screening forms

Traditional screening methods like paper-based questionnaires can be cumbersome and make patients feel rushed, especially when filling them out in the waiting room or exam room. And once they’re done, providers or clinic staff need to transcribe results, calculate scores, and input everything into the EMR by hand which only adds to the administrative burden.

Fortunately, screening tools like the PHQ-9, GAD-7 and CAGE are available in the Ocean Forms Library. When a patient completes a form on an Ocean Tablet or Kiosk, their responses are immediately calculated and sent into the EMR where it is ready for the provider at the point of care. Having this data instantly on-hand makes for more productive and informed patient visits.

In addition, by completing forms on a tablet, patients have more time for self-reflection. Studies have shown patients are 36% more likely to provide honest answers regarding their mental health when given a tablet. The more patients share, the more their doctors can effectively assess their risk level and provide the appropriate level of care.

“36% of patients indicated that tablets helped them provide more honest answers”
– eHealth Centre of Excellence, 2018

Automated Reminders: Increase screening capacity before and after appointments

Early detection is critical, but with the stigma attached to mental health, many patients may not feel comfortable reporting their symptoms when in the clinic, even with a tablet. With Ocean’s Patient Reminders, clinics can schedule automated screening forms to be sent to patients which they can complete from the safety and comfort of their homes. This increases the chances of collecting open and honest answers, and helps clinics reach out to patients who may otherwise be unheard. For example, during the height of the pandemic, nurses from the University of Toronto Health Services sent thousands of Patient Reminders to 500+ students, each accompanied with a COVID-19 screen and a mental health questionnaire. What originally required 14,000 phone calls per week for staff effectively automated, reducing staff burnout and allowing nurses to focus on higher priorities.

Learn more about how providers are using Ocean to improve mental health screening and patient outcomes!

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