South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM) alongside partner Trusts are changing to the way NHS Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and Child Health Services will gather health information about young people who are in contact with their services.
Child Health Services or CAMHS routinely ask you to provide information about your child’s symptoms using questionnaires called routine outcome measures. At present, Child health and CAMHS will ask parents or caregivers to complete paper-based questionnaires on a regular basis over the course of assessment and treatment. Normally these have mainly been sent by mail or handed to families whilst in the waiting room.
Due to Covid related restrictions, a lot of child health and CAMHS work cannot be carried out face to face, and is now conducted remotely over the phone or via video conferencing. This has meant NHS services have needed to modernise to make it easier and safer for families to send information to their clinical teams.
Last year a team of NHS clinicians, researchers and software developers developed a new secure online NHS digital portal called myHealthE (MHE). MyHealthE works by identifying when families were due to fill out new outcome measures and sends text and email reminders to complete the questionnaire online. MyHealthE was designed for use on a smartphone, tablet or a computer.
The myHealthE team conducted a small trial in SLaM. Ninety-eight caregivers were provided access to myHealthE and ninety eight continued on the usual paper based forms. We found that people that used myHealthE provided questionnaire information back to CAMHS in over 70% of instances compared to 8% using the traditional approaches.
We also found myHealthE saved caregivers and clinicians a lot of administrative time, and was generally preferred as means to transfer information between families and clinical teams. From November 2020, SLaM and partnering NHS Trusts will begin a more comprehensive evaluation of myHealthE to see if accessing questionnaires online improves caregivers’ experience of completing routine outcome measures.