Mental health assessments are a proven mechanism that helps mental health professionals diagnose patients and identify the types of treatment and support a patient would likely benefit most from on their path to leading healthier lives. The importance of a mental health assessment cannot be overstated. It is an opportunity for the patient to share important information about their needs and concerns — both concerning and outside of their mental health — and for the provider to ask specific questions to help discern mental health symptoms, assess physical health and well-being and, ultimately, guide the treatment process.
Today, largely thanks to advancements in mental health software, assessments are going beyond conversation to incorporate a variety of tools and tests that patients complete to provide deeper insights in reliable and valid ways. The combination of these tests provides a more complete picture of a patient’s behavioral well-being and functioning.
There are many types of mental health assessments that can be used. One of the most common and effective mental health assessments is the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (M.I.N.I.). The M.I.N.I. can be used to assess the most common DSM-5 conditions in adults and children. Providers can also configure the M.I.N.I. to only ask questions for specific conditions — for example, mood disorders.
Advantages of Completing a Mental Health Assessment Online
In recent years, there's been an increased usage of online mental health assessments. Some skeptics of this trend may ask, “Are online mental health assessments accurate?” We dove into this question in a recent blog post. The truth is that there is a wide range of benefits to online mental health assessments for providers, patients, clinics, and health systems. What’s essential to know is that to achieve the most significant benefits of using a mental health assessment online, patients should take those assessments recommended by and under the purview of a provider. Without the guidance of a provider, patients may end up taking online quizzes posing as legitimate mental health screening tools that can do much more harm than good.
Let's take a closer look at six of the most significant advantages associated with offering clinically validated online mental health assessment software.
Online software tools can help providers streamline the assessment process and associated documentation. That's not all: Streamlining the process also supports efforts to diagnose mental health challenges quickly, which is essential to delivering timely, effective treatment.
Reduce potential for missing comorbid conditions
Online assessments can reduce the potential for missing comorbid conditions. An article in Population Health Management notes, “Psychiatric and medical comorbidities are extremely common among adults in the United States, with 68% of those with mental disorders also having medical conditions and 29% of those with medical conditions also having mental disorders.” The right mental health assessment software can help accurately identify these comorbidities, better-ensuring treatment is addressing all relevant factors contributing to a patient’s concerns and challenges.
Provide auto flagging and alerts
As mental health software has become more sophisticated, the ability to identify critical and time-sensitive pieces of information and get them to providers through functions like auto-flagging and configurable alerts has improved significantly. Leveraging these functions helps ensure providers will be better informed of critical issues that may raise concerns or impact treatment. Alerts can also be configured to fit provider workflow and used to help providers stay on top of treatment details and steps, improvements or declines in patient status, and more.
Mental health assessment software amplifies providers’ ability to respond to emerging issues and patient needs.
Improving patient candor
Research has shown that most patients are not entirely candid or forthcoming with providers about information that could be relevant to their health, including mental health concerns, symptoms, and behaviors. In-person conversations can make it challenging for some patients to share private information or to fully reveal the extent of their concerns. An online mental health assessment provides patients with the ability to share this information privately, likely in a setting of their choice where they may be more relaxed. This can improve the accuracy and thoroughness of their responses.
Use of measurable insights
Measurable insights help both providers and patients monitor and track progress throughout the treatment experience. This is true both for individual patients and for patient panels, thus allowing providers and their practices the ability to identify and respond to trends. Such measurement-based care increases provider knowledge about the effectiveness of treatment methods and interventions.
Ability to diagnose with greater accuracy
Mental health assessment software can simplify the screening, interviewing, and treatment processes; help improve the monitoring of patients; integrate important data from patient medical records, and better ensure consistent data collection and stronger communication between providers and patients. As a result, online mental health assessments can help providers make a more accurate diagnosis and minimize the likelihood of misdiagnosis, which can have serious consequences for patients. For example, if bipolar disorder is misdiagnosed as depression, it can lead to manic episodes for the patient since the mania will not be treated.
Incorporating Mental Health Assessment Software
With so many advantages, mental health assessment software can provide clinicians and patients with a clearer path to improved outcomes. At Proem, we offer a solution that includes multi-dimensional assessments that make it easier for providers to collect and use data to make the right diagnosis and put together the best treatment plan.
With Proem’s evidence-based behavioral health workflow engine, providers can configure electronic behavioral health assessments and treatment processes to help accurately and efficiently screen, diagnose, treat and monitor patients. The mental health software's workflows rely on clinically validated tools that help with the provision of timely, appropriate care. Algorithms that deliver the right data at the right time enable providers to drive more accurate assessments and better-informed follow-up care. Learn more about how our online tools are promoting reliable, scalable, measurement-based care.