What has your experience using the app been like? Do you find it disruptive, do clients push back?
It has not been intrusive or disruptive at all
The use of the app has been relatively seamless. I’ve primarily used it during telehealth sessions and it has not been intrusive or disruptive at all. The few times I have used it in person I simply sat the tablet on a small table between my patient and myself, and quickly we both seemed to forget that it was even there. Beginning sessions with the assessment measures and semi-structured probes has shifted the flow of sessions a bit, although the shift has trained me to be more methodical in my check-ins and more diligent in using outcome measures. There have only been a few occasions when the semi-structured probe questions have been difficult to complete either because my patients have a pressing issue they want to discuss or because they do not have much to share on a specific probe. Even then, a simple redirection or additional query has put things back on track and there has always been plenty of time left to address all other important therapeutic topics. At the end of the session, the participant ratings take less than a minute to complete and are a useful way for me to summarize the patient’s emotional state.
What is your hope for this technology?
I believe that this product can potentially solve a lot of issues that we practitioners face
The primary need is for additional ways to measure suicidality aside from traditional assessment measures, informal assessments, and clinical intuition. Our current tools rely on patient self-report and clinician observation- both of which are incredibly important but do not always tell the full story. Having an additional “observer” in the room that is utilizing data points that neither the patient nor clinician are aware of provides an additional metric to fill in the missing pieces in TAU (treatment as usual). It can be a check and balance system that would be particularly useful in in tipping the scale during those moments when a clinician is on the fence about whether to implement emergency interventions. A secondary need is a structured way to measure progress over time to meet the standards of evidence-based care and requirements of managed care. If this product continues to collect assessment measures such as the PHQ-9, GAD-7, C-SSRS, and WAI, and especially if it the product displays changes over time, this would significantly improve the quality of clinician documentation and also allow clinicians to monitor effectiveness with each patient.
What drew you to become involved with Clarigent Health’s clinical research?
As a practicing psychologist, suicide risk is always at the front of my mind.
I treat many individuals who are at high risk of suicide and I have lost a patient to suicide. While I have many tools at my disposal to assess and minimize risk, these tools are limited in how accurately they can predict suicidality and how effectively I can intervene. It can be unnerving knowing that someone is at risk and second-guessing whether you asked all the right questions or put in place all the right safeguards.
Cutting edge technology and potential impact it could have in assessing suicide risk
I happily ran across Clarigent Health at the CincyTech Big Breakfast in 2019. I noticed from their poster that they were developing software for mental health and I could not help but stop to learn more. A brief conversation turned into a few meetings, which eventually turned into an offer to participate in the CAMPUS-Expanded study as a Co-Principal Investigator. At the time of our first meeting I had no expectations other than to learn more about the software, but after gaining a better understanding of the cutting edge technology and the potential impact it could have in assessing suicide risk, I was all in. I wanted to do my part to help this technology make its way into practitioners’ hands.
What benefits do you see for your practice and your clients from the research?
Research participation allows people to give back to a field that has helped them
One major benefit has been giving my patients an opportunity to express altruism. I was surprised at how willing my patients were to participate in the research study, although in retrospect it makes a ton of sense. For those who struggle with major mental illness, there is a common understanding that current treatment and assessment options are not always as effective and efficient as we would like. It is also common for patients to feel that they are frequently using mental health resources without having an opportunity to give back. By providing people a chance to participate in research that could potentially save lives, it allows people to give back to a field that has helped them in hopes that we can use that information to more effectively and efficiently help others in the future.
About Dr. Bryant:
Dr. Bryant is a licensed clinical psychologist and serial entrepreneur passionate about helping people access mental healthcare. Dr. Bryant’s practice, Hello Mental Health, offers individual therapy, couple's therapy, and DBT group therapy for adults. She has also founded tech startup Health Match 360- a therapist matching service that connects clients with private practice therapists based on a multitude of variables. In addition, she owns and operates wellness center Good Therapy LLC, that houses holistic practitioners, hosts yoga, meditation classes, and educational workshops.