We are a very small company of 3 full time, and 2 part time people. Despite our size, over the last year we have succeeded in getting 7 community mental health centers, one state hospital and 2 peer centers to use our web application. We currently have over 5,000 users in MA, KS, OK and PA. We have partnered with Dartmouth Psychiatric Rehabilitation Center to research the efficacy of our intervention. We have been listed by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality as a practice innovation (http://www.innovations.ahrq.gov/content.aspx?id=2870). We have published numerous articles about our intervention in professional journals. We are constantly in the field testing and developing the web application based on feedback from users.
Doctors using the CommonGround web application hear the voice and concerns of mental health services users. 14,000 Health Reports have been created by CommonGround users and psychiatrists have entered shared decisions 75% of the time. This demonstrates that shared decision making is feasible in public sector mental health, despite severe time constraints in the 15 minute medication visit.
The web application is assistive technology as well. It helps people organize a concise story and to express their concerns about treatment while also linking people to information to support recovery.
What will it take for your project to be successful over the next three years? Please address each year separately, if possible.
We are a mission drive group and we are not business people. However, in the upcoming year we have to find a sustainable business model. Public sector mental health services are broke. The state budgets are in crisis and the public safety net is being shredded by budget cuts.
Our web application costs about 2 dollars per user per month and we need consultants to help us formulate a plan to disseminate it widely. As we do that, we are also doubling in size in the next year with 8 more mental health centers lined up to use the application!
In year 2 we need to develop an online implementation support so that mental health centers can implement the use of the application on their own, at no additional expense for training.
In year 3 we will develop new features for the web application to streamline its implementation.
What would prevent your project from being a success?
In our opinion, when we help one person get empowered to speak up about their healthcare, we are a success. So it's hard to fail! We are a really small company doing great things.
Sometimes we get concerned that some will catch on to our idea and distort it for marketing purposes. It is really important that shared decision making remain free of marketing.