Mental health related complaints are the most common reason for contact with a primary care physician (PCP) in Norway. The governmental whitepaper “Mestre hele livet” identifies interventions at the primary care level supporting coping as central in addressing mental health issues. For many patients, supportive interventions at this level are appropriate and sufficient, while the more severe cases are in need of specialized treatment. Assessing mental health complaints is a complex, time consuming and challenging task, particularly in a busy primary care setting. Right and timely treatment is a common goal shared by patients and all levels of health care.
This ambitious research-driven innovation project aims to develop a web-based decision support tool (DST) to harvest relevant information to identify the appropriate level of care, and to support the PCP and specialist health care system by creating high quality referrals.
In the pre-project we will use qualitative methods to interview users and stakeholders, identifying needs and requirements for the DST. The main research and development challenge for the project will be to develop a tool that both patients and PCP's experience as timesaving, user-friendly, secure and helpful. Collecting, sorting and presenting patient information is not particularly challenging and our alpha version of the tool is already capable of this. Neither is using this information to create a high quality referral. However, developing algorithms that can analyze complex information and give advice on possible interventions and level of care is both ambitious and challenging.
Our partner Assistert Selvhjelp AS is in a unique position to distribute the DST nationally, as they already deliver e-health solutions to a large part of municipalities in Norway. A successful DST made together with end-users, research-based and in collaboration with strong partners, will be easily implementable and scalable both national and internationally.