Grants

“This grant allowed us to take a big step forward in engaging young patients and their families as partners in the diagnosis and treatment of mental health problems.” - Rasim Somer Diler, MD, medical director of inpatient child and adolescent bipolar services, Western Psychiatric Institute of UPMC

INTERACTIVE WEB-BASED PLATFORM FOR MOOD AND ENERGY MONITORING OF YOUTH IN THE HOSPITAL SETTING

Grant Application

Rasim Somer Diler, MD, of the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, in partnership with Christopher Gessner, MD, Ken Nash, MD, Cami Herisko, DNP, Nicole Kroll, MS, Meghan Shutt, RN, BSN, BS, Melissa Nossal, PhD, Megan Nase, LSW, Tara Krelic, LSW, Gabriella Soxman, MEd, Gina Rudolph, MEd, Frank DePietro, MD, Marty Lubetsky, MD, Jack Doman, MS, Tina Goldstein, PhD, and Boris Birmaher, MD

Innovation

Pediatric bipolar disorder (PBD) is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, and activity levels. Its symptoms can result in damaged relationships, academic difficulties, substance use, medical problems, and suicide. Correctly identifying complex mood cycles is key to diagnosis and treatment, but it can be challenging — particularly in adolescents who (with or without PBD) can experience mood fluctuations, including ups and downs. Diagnosis can be further complicated because adolescents and their parents frequently disagree when it comes to mood assessment.

This project used a novel “mood and energy” thermometer along with an interactive wall projection (equipped with gesture-based tracking technology) and a web-based platform to improve participation and assessments by young patients and encourage communication and partnership between patients, parents, and physicians.

Improvements

Equipment and programs were installed and a web-portal was developed. In addition, staff members have undergone special training. Young inpatients now enter their mood ratings daily on a large interactive wall screen while trained clinicians coach them about using the scale accurately and independently. The web-portal includes and “alert my treatment team mode” for high score entries, as well as a “simplify me” option.

Ratings are sent in real-time via email/text to parents and physicians, and available on a secure database for access by computer or smartphone. An e-communication station is available in the unit for parents who do not have internet access.

Outcomes

Patients and parents are now routinely introduced to the “mood and energy thermometer.” Data on mood and energy ratings continues to be collected and analyzed to guide day-to-day decision making about best interventions to help stabilize the patients’ mood states.

The project has successfully engaged young patients to use the staff-rating scale during inpatient stays and more accurately report their mood and energy. Providing real-time information about daily mood ratings also has improved parents’ understanding of their child’s complex mood cycles, minimized discrepancies, and allowed for more tailored and effective treatment by the inpatient team. Parents and patients have provided positive feedback about how this web-based platform successfully enhances communication and fosters partnerships between adolescents, parents, and physicians.