Feedback-Informed Treatment

An ICCE eLearning Initiative

Learning is a continuous process that begins on the day we are born, perhaps sooner, and commences only upon our death. In the words of Henry Ford “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.”

The advent of new technology has made this process even easier with eLearning, now synonymous with learning. It has some major benefits as it allows people to acquire knowledge from anywhere, anytime and at their own pace.

In addition to the need of background knowledge relevant to their practice, behavioural health practitioners, need to constantly keep pace with the latest developments and research happenings in the industry. They need to have the right information and tools to be able to help more and more people meet their therapy goals. In order to help bridge the ever increasing gap in therapy, they need to adopt faster, smarter ways of approaching therapy.

FIT eLearning is one such method. It is a new and accelerated way to learn and implement Feedback-Informed Treatment using PCOMS evidence based practice. It comprises 12 interactive lessons organized around a set of 4 core competencies developed by Scott D. Miller, PhD and colleagues. Dr. Miller is the founder of the International Center for Clinical Excellence, an international consortium of clinicians, researchers, and educators dedicated to promoting excellence in behavioural health services.

Topics are ranging from what works best in therapy and what is Feedback Informed Treatment, to the importance of FIT and its practical implementation.FIT eLearning allows you to interact with the material in order to learn it the best way possible, while at the same time fitting your schedule as each module takes only 45-60 minutes to complete.

Here’s your chance to engage with Dr. Miller in a personable one-on-one fashion from your smartphone, tablet or computer and take your therapy to the next level.


Face to Face or Remote Counselling?

MyOutcomes Client Level Access

Whether face-to-face counselling is the best way to treat patients, or newer, technology enabled techniques like telepsychiatry or web-based counselling can work just as well is an ongoing debate.

But one thing that can be said without a doubt and substantiated with facts, is that the popularity of telephone and web-based talk therapy has continued to grow over the years, and the reasons can be the many benefits it brings with it.Some of the major benefits of remote counselling:

It reaches people in remote places and in rural areas who would otherwise have no access to such facilities
People who are housebound due to disability or other reasons can also avail the benefits of expert counselling
It is much more accessible as it can be accessed from any place of convenience
The perceived privacy that comes with visiting a “shrink” online as compared to physically visiting a clinic is important for some
Some people are more comfortable discussing their mental health issues behind the veil of technology as opposed to face-to-face, and may help the mental health practitioner understand the situation better
For web-based treatment, the client may be more objective while discussing the issues as s/he is writing it down in order to communicate, which may provide an opportunity for them to be able to view the problem without associating it directly with their emotions
The client also feels a bit more involved as s/he enjoys a greater degree of ownership of the process

Since it is equally, or perhaps even more important, to measure feedback in remote counselling, therapists need a tool that can do it for them. It is for this reason that MyOutcomes, in its May 2014 version 12 update, added the option for the clinicians to give their client remote access to the Outcomes Rating Scale (ORS, CORS) and Session Rating Scale (SRS, CSRS,GSRS). In January, 2015 we released MyOutcomes Mobile®, a free app for clients to download from iTunes or Google Play onto their smartphone or tablet, making it easier than ever for clients to complete these measures. This remote access feature enables providers to create a user ID and password that they can give the client to log in on their own home computer or tablet and record their current ORS and SRS responses.

To give clients access, the therapist goes to their MyOutcomes Provider page. In the column headed “Action,” there is a link titled “Give Access.” The therapist selects the client they wish to provide access to and clicks on that link, which will generate a temporary password that will remain active for 24 hours. The therapist needs to communicate this password and ID to the client, who will then enter this information into the appropriate fields and click the login button. The client will then see a field for them to take the appropriate scale (ORS/CORS/SRS/CRSR/GSRS). That’s it! As soon as the client has completed the scales, the therapist will be able to see the results on their own device in real time.

*Security Tip- if the therapist plans to communicate by email and is not yet using a secure email application then for security purposes the clients User ID and temporary password should be shared in separate emails.



Fear is only HIPAA Deep

MyOutcomes Partners with Compliance Helper

In an age of alarming events that seem to occur with unnerving regularity, I have done my best to avoid being an alarmist. On the other hand, I have no qualms about being a realist. Being a realist is not the same as being an alarmist. A realist is someone who identifies problems and seeks to take reasonable and effective steps to negate those problems. An alarmist is someone who exaggerates the dangers of the world in order to panic the proverbial herd into making risky and costly choices that oftentimes benefits the alarmist or pushes the alarmist’s agenda.

In every age, new threats arise that challenge our security. These threats are typically associated with what we consider to be technological, socio-political, and/or economic advances. History is replete with examples of new discoveries, inventions, or other advancements turning out to be double-edged swords: one edge improves life as we know it, while the other edge opens the door to new risks. When the age of pharmacology was first born in the 19th century, the possibility of treating, if not outright curing, so many disorders and diseases became a real possibility. At the same time, the magnitude for substance-abuse and its associated problems grew to a level never seen before. Nothing is without a cost.

In our age, technological advances hold the promise to yield better healthcare that can be delivered more easily to more people. Computers and their attendant software possibilities, the internet, and mobile telecommunications, in unison, have the potential to bring state-of-the-art advances in psychotherapy to therapists and their clients anytime and anyplace. There are few people who would consider advancements that can better the lives of so many as being the equivalent of letting the genie out of the bottle. Nonetheless, taking advantage of these advances requires the creation of electronic records that oftentimes contain personal and sensitive information. And as everyone knows, there are people who want access to that information, whether it be for personal gain, part of a cyberwar stratagem, or it stems from nihilistic tendencies. Luckily, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services identified the problem and developed a document that outlines what are reasonable and effective steps to address this threat to our privacy and security. This document is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or, as it is more commonly referred to, HIPAA.

This age has seen numerous companies moving to take advantage of these advances, such as healthcare funders (either government or private), multi-site agencies, and companies bringing therapeutic tools to the therapist. MyOutcomes, the web-based application of Partners for Change Outcome Management System (PCOMS), is one of a handful of companies attempting to bring electronic tools to those therapists who are ready to modernize their approach to psychotherapy by building an evidence-based, feedback-informed practice. Given the very real threats to our privacy and security, one of the top ten questions any therapist, or even any potential client, should ask is: Is the company they are considering doing business with HIPAA compliant? If not, then this should be considered a strong indication that the company doesn’t concern itself with your privacy and security. I give you fair warning; approach such with care.

As in any age when a threat has been identified and a solution has been posed, one can be certain to find the alarmist wolves howling at the gates. The wolves, in this case, are those who are warning of the dire consequences if people fail to become HIPAA certified. In light of these scary warnings, what’s a therapist to do except to seek out something that doesn’t exist? Not only does it not exist, but it can cost a lot (up to $40k) to purchase the nonexistent. Of course, the alarmist wolves are quite willing to negotiate a price that fits the pocketbook of any mental healthcare provider or agency. But then again, why wouldn’t they? They’re getting something for nothing and that’s a sweet deal that any wolf could sink its teeth in.

Like all ages, we have a world filled with problems, solutions, alarmists, and realists. Realists can see the problem and understands the steps needed to calmly obtain the solution to the problem. The steps needed to protect the privacy and security of your clients has been detailed in HIPAA. Nowhere in the document does it say that certification is a satisfactory or necessary step in becoming HIPAA compliant. What HIPAA does say is that ensuring the privacy and security of your clients is an ongoing process. In other words, HIPAA compliance is not a one-time event, but instead, a process that requires continual monitoring. What is needed for HIPAA compliance is knowledge, expertise, and an ongoing mechanism to monitor the state of HIPAA compliance.

MyOutcomes is a company for the ages. Not only is it the pacesetter for companies offering technologically sophisticated tools and support to therapists who have evidence-based, feedback-informed therapies, but MyOutcomes is at the forefront of those companies that are HIPAA compliant. Providing knowledge and expertise needed to become and remain HIPAA compliant, MyOutcomes’ Director of Security is a Certified HIPAA Professional (CHP). To continually monitor the state of compliance, MyOutcomes is licensing Compliance Helper. Compliance Helper is a powerful tool that helps a company keep its policies, procedures, and other documents up-to-date. To provide real evidence to customers that MyOutcomes is HIPAA compliant, Compliance Helper provides four meters to be placed on the MyOutcomes website. These meters will allow customers to see at a glance how compliant MyOutcomes is with its procedures, policies, forms, and regularly scheduled tasks.

In an age filled with so much uncertainty, MyOutcomes’ existing customers and potential customers can be certain of two things that set MyOutcomes apart from many other companies. First, the security and privacy of your clients’ personal information is as important to us as it is to you. Second, MyOutcomes will do everything that is needed to ensure that the security and privacy of that personal information remains secure and private.