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December 15, 2016

New application makes smart screening in healthcare possible

The UMCG developed an application in collaboration with TU Twente, which makes ‘smart’ screening in mental healthcare possible. This new screening method consists of a digital questionnaire, which decides on its own in what orders intake questions should be asked. This makes it possible to make a reliable diagnosed based on fewer questions, which speeds up the process of intakes.

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A statistic module is the core of the new screening application. Psychologist Jan van Bebber of UMCG is the lead author of the research, which was done in collaboration with TU Twente. The digital questionnaire should minimise time spend on forms and unnecessary questions and diagnose patients quicker. The application will be used before clients have their interview with a doctor. The questionnaire will be able to determine the presence and severity of the complaints.

Smart screening

The digital questionnaire is ‘smart’, which means that it can decide for itself which question sequence is most effective. As soon as enough information has been collected to reliably diagnose a patient, the screening stops. This way, the patients won’t have to answer unnecessary questions.

The questionnaire also means that healthcare providers are able to more efficiently decide whether or not someone has psychological problems. It offers insight in complaints faster, which might prevent aggravation.

Five domains

The current, first version of the application focusses on five domains: fear, depression, psychological symptoms of stress and positive and negative symptoms of psychosis. Factors like emotional support, friendship and satisfaction with social roles and activities are measures as well. These last factors make up a large part of the amount of care someone with psychological complaints needs.

New pilot in 2017

The application has been tested in 5705 help-seeking, non-psychotic young individuals. As of February 2017, GPs and mental health practitioners will test the application. This pilot should prove that the application is useable in real life and whether it delivers the information needed to diagnose patients. The next extension of the application are models for traumatic experiences and addiction.

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