Better care for people with severe mental illness using telehealth and a web-based care plan shared between consumers, mental health services and general practitioners.
The issue for NSW
People with severe mental illness have at least 15 years reduced life expectancy and decreased quality of life because of heart disease, diabetes and other conditions that can be prevented by good physical health care. This can be improved by better preventive care for this population in general practice. This care is often not received due to lack of access to primary care or problems with communication and coordination between mental health services and GPs. Sydney Local Health District, along with other Local Health Districts in NSW have begun to address this in partnership with local Primary Health Networks by establishing shared care programs. However, these are limited by ineffective ways to communicate and plan care including the ability track tasks to ensure that nothing is missed, and so that the patient and their carers can be fully informed.
What does the research aim to do and how?
The research aims to improve the coordination of care between mental health services and primary care to better manage risk factors for heart disease and diabetes and improve the health of people living with severe mental illness.
It will introduce telehealth and web-based shared care plans between consumers, mental health services and general practices allowing them to better communicate with each other and plan care. We will evaluate the quality of care provided and consumers’ experience, as well as the impact on quality of life. We will weigh up the costs and benefits to inform its dissemination across NSW.
The project will assess:
- Improvement in measurement of blood pressure, body mass index, cholesterol and blood glucose.
- Improvement in patient reported advice or referral for smoking, diet, alcohol or physical activity.
- Increase frequency of prescription of blood pressure or cholesterol medications.