Disease Management Update
Volume V, No. 11
July 10, 2008
Dear Healthcare Intelligence Network Client,
Suicide, while a serious and tragic issue, is often misrepresented in the media. Whether its the newspaper, television or any other outlet, the focus is too often on the negative outcomes and impacts rather than on the support available to enable suicide survivors, attempt survivors and suicide prevention supporters.
Enter LifelifeGallery.org, a new social online forum to help prevent suicide.
In this week's Disease Management Update, I interview Dr. John Draper, director of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, and Amanda Lehner, technology communications coordinator for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, about this new initiative. In addition, find out how MySpace is reaching out to its users coping with depression.
And visit HIN's blog to find out more about Web 2.0 and its place in the healthcare arena.
Your colleague in the business of healthcare,
Editor, Disease Management Update
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Table of Contents
- Suicide Prevention Site Uses Avatar Technology
- Disease Management Q&A: Overcoming Resistance to Depression Management
- HealthSounds Podcast: Sensationalizing Suicide in the Media
- MySpace Campaign Helps Teens Cope with Depression, Drugs, Violence
- Survey of the Month: Energy Costs in Healthcare
- Depression and Disease Management: Beyond the Stigma to Identification and Treatment
Suicide Prevention Site Uses Avatar Technology
As Web 2.0 makes its mark in healthcare, social networks and "communities of individuals" for an array of diseases and conditions are popping up across the industry. A new one is LifelineGallery.org from the National Suicide Prevention Lifelife. This online forum uses speaking avatar products to enable suicide survivors, attempt survivors and suicide prevention supporters to share their stories of hope and recovery. The compilation of stories illustrates the many ways in which suicide affects others and offers comfort to those who may be suffering alone.
Why avatars? According to Dr. John Draper, director of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, such technologies bring people closer to the experience, like a face-to-face conversation.
"Actually hearing a person's voice — their tonality, their expression, their passion, their caring. Their experience is all in their voice," said Dr. Draper. "The way in which the avatars are used is very engaging. It can visually draw people in."
This new approach also teaches people to talk about their stories and helps them develop a practice for speaking to others about their experiences in real, face-to-face conversations.
To learn more about this research, please visit:
2. Disease Management Q&A: Overcoming Resistance in Depression Management
Each week, a healthcare professional responds to a reader's query on an industry issue. This week's expert is Dr. Sam Toney, president and chief medical officer of Health Integrated, Inc.
Question: How can we get resistant members to comply with psychotherapy for depression?
Response: (Dr. Sam Toney) Not all individuals with depressive disorder meet criteria for psychotherapy. It’s a very important treatment intervention. Literature tells us that the most successful treatment interventions are dual modality interventions. Typical anti-depressant therapies, medication management and psychotherapy tend to produce the best results in combination.
You must assess an individual’s readiness and willingness to change. The qualification or clarification of appropriateness for psychotherapy is the first part of that equation. Determining that this patient meets criteria for psychotherapeutic intervention involves looking at the patient’s readiness to accept that intervention. Then we work with the patient through motivational interviewing and behavior change techniques provided by our clinicians to move that patient toward acceptance of that treatment modality.
It’s important to avoid employing psychotherapeutic interventions ourselves. This is sometimes a challenge for our clinicians, most of whom are psychotherapists, because there’s a temptation to enter into the therapeutic relationship. Thus, we have frequent in-house reminders that we render educational services to our care managers and that line cannot be crossed. We utilize certain techniques and interviewing skills to move our patients into acceptance of that modality.
For more details on depression management programs, please visit:
We want to hear from you! Submit your question for Disease
Management Q&A to firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. HealthSounds Podcast: Sensationalizing Suicide in the Media
When it comes to suicide, more often than not, the media focuses too much on the tragedy of the situation and sends the message that it cannot be prevented. But according to Dr. John Draper, director of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, there is a silent majority of suicide survivors who have another message — suicide isn't inevitable, and it can be prevented. Dr. Draper and Amanda Lehner, technology communications coordinator for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, discuss their latest endeavor, LifelineGallery.org, and how this social network hopes to connect with patients with its use of story-telling avatars.
To listen to this complimentary HIN podcast, please visit:
MySpace Campaign Helps Teens Cope with Depression, Drugs, Violence
The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene announced an online campaign to engage teenagers grappling with depression, drugs and violence, and to encourage them to seek help. NYC Teen Mindspace, posted on MySpace, is the agency’s first effort to promote health through Web-based social networking.
Though many teens experience mental health issues, they are often reluctant to acknowledge them and seek help. The Mindspace page responds to these issues with interactive features that raise awareness and combat stigma by helping teens identify with peers and prompting them to seek help. The site offers video blogs for teen characters, opportunities to reach out for help, music downloads and quizzes, polls, games and fact sheets.
“Social networking sites present a unique opportunity to help teenagers with mental health problems,” said Dr. David Rosin, deputy commissioner for mental hygiene. “By reaching out to young people where they socialize, in a style they can relate to, we make it easier for them to talk and seek help.”
To learn more about this research, please visit:
5. Survey of the Month: Energy Costs in Healthcare
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, healthcare organizations spend over $6.5 billion on energy each year to meet patients' needs while experiencing double-digit cost increases. In addition, rising gas prices are affecting healthcare administration and utilization. Complete our survey on energy costs in healthcare by July 31 and receive a free summary of the compiled results and $25 off the price of the full study when it is published in September. Also, the respondent who submits the most effective energy conservation/cost-saving strategy will receive a $50 gas card!
To participate in this survey and receive its results, please visit:
6. Depression and Disease Management: Beyond the Stigma to Identification and Treatment
With the economic burden of depression and its co-morbidities estimated at $83 billion annually — hitting employers hardest in the form of lost workdays, compromised productivity and workplace accidents — the healthcare industry is formalizing programs for early identification, adequate treatment and medical adherence of individuals with depressive disorder. This is no small task, given the challenges of screening depression severity, overcoming the stigma of mental illness, and educating PCPs on the value of this initiative. In an online survey, HIN asked its audience for details on current and planned initiatives for depression and disease management.
To download this complimentary white paper, please visit:
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