Hasso-Plattner-InstitutSDG am HPI
Hasso-Plattner-InstitutDSG am HPI

Anja Perlich

Digital Collaborative Documentation in Mental Healthcare

With the growth of information technology, patient attitudes are shifting – away from passively receiving care towards actively taking responsibility for their wellbeing. Handling doctor-patient relationships collaboratively and providing patients access to their health information are crucial steps in empowering patients. In mental healthcare, the implicit consensus amongst practitioners has been that sharing medical records with patients may have an unpredictable, harmful impact on clinical practice. In order to involve patients more actively in mental healthcare processes, Tele-Board MED (TBM) allows for digital collaborative documentation in therapist-patient sessions. The TBM software system offers a whiteboard-inspired graphical user interface that allows therapist and patient to jointly take notes during the treatment session. Furthermore, it provides features to automatically reuse the digital treatment session notes for the creation of treatment session summaries and clinical case reports. This thesis presents the development of the TBM system and evaluates its effects on 1) the fulfillment of the therapist’s duties of clinical case documentation, 2) patient engagement in care processes, and 3) the therapist-patient relationship. Following the design research methodology, TBM was developed and tested in multiple evaluation studies in the domains of cognitive behavioral psychotherapy and addiction care. The results show that therapists are likely to use TBM with patients if they have a technology-friendly attitude and when its use suits the treatment context. Support in carrying out documentation duties as well as fulfilling legal requirements contributes to therapist acceptance. Furthermore, therapists value TBM as a tool to provide a discussion framework and quick access to worksheets during treatment sessions. Therapists express skepticism, however, regarding technology use in patient sessions and towards complete record transparency in general. Patients expect TBM to improve the communication with their therapist and to offer a better recall of discussed topics when taking a copy of their notes home after the session. Patients are doubtful regarding a possible distraction of the therapist and usage in situations when relationship-building is crucial. When applied in a clinical environment, collaborative note-taking with TBM encourages patient engagement and a team feeling between therapist and patient. Furthermore, it increases the patient’s acceptance of their diagnosis, which in turn is an important predictor for therapy success. In summary, TBM has a high potential to deliver more than documentation support and record transparency for patients, but also to contribute to a collaborative doctor-patient relationship. This thesis provides design implications for the development of digital collaborative documentation systems in (mental) healthcare as well as recommendations for a successful implementation in clinical practice.