Polaris Begins Commercial Development of Mental Health Assessment System for Oncology

After a successful pilot period, Polaris Health Directions, in collaboration with the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, is now developing a behavioral health assessment system for use with cancer patients.

Langhorne, PA, August 14, 2010 --(PR.com)-- Polaris Health Directions, in collaboration with the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, has launched the development of a behavioral health assessment system for cancer patients, following the successful trial of a pilot version. Starting this fall, the Mental Health Assessment and Dynamic Referral System for Oncology (MHADRO) will be rigorously tested with 1,000 patients at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, in Worcester, Cooper University Hospital, in Camden, N.J., and the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, in Houston, Texas.

MHADRO is the first computerized clinical decision support system for oncology to provide patients with a report that is tailored to their condition and concerns, and includes motivational messages, where to find self-help or treatment resources, and an automatic referral for those interested in formal treatment or support groups. Developed with funding from the National Institute for Mental Health, it supports physicians by screening and monitoring for: (1) depression, anxiety and other mental health symptoms; (2) cancer-related physical symptoms and side effects; (3) the quality of the relationship between the physician and the patient; (4) potential barriers to treatment and (5) adherence to the medical regimen and lifestyle change recommendations.

The initial testing of MHADRO involved the assessments of 101 cancer patients at the Cooper Hospital’s Cancer Institute. For 48 (48%) of the patients, their oncology providers stated that the Healthcare Provider Report contained important information that had not been assessed during their medical evaluation. For 22 patients, providers stated that the new information changed the way they managed the patient, such as starting a new psychotropic medication. Thirty (49%) of the 61 patients, whose assessments indicated a level of distress unusually severe for cancer patients, received referral information that they likely would not have received under routine clinical care, according to their providers.

These results indicate the potential MHADRO holds to help oncologists identify and manage distressed patients, and to promote among their patients social support, self-help and treatment engagement for behavioral health conditions, including depression, anxiety, social isolation and smoking.

For more information on Polaris's oncology product, visit http://www.polarishealth.com/solutions/polaris_oncology/oncology.html or send an e-mail to moreinfo@polarishealth.com.

The project described was supported by Award Number R42MH078432 from the National Institute for Mental Health. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute for Mental Health or the National Institutes of Health.

About Polaris Health Directions

At Polaris, we recognize that organizations cannot manage what they do not measure. Many behavioral health care providers and payers may not be collecting and analyzing enough of the right data to answer basic questions about the cost-effectiveness of the care they offer. Polaris's advanced technology and science driven assessment systems are designed to capture the clinical data essential to quality improvement and enhanced organizational management. Polaris solutions provide advanced analytics to help you improve and demonstrate to your customers the value of your care. With a focus on prediction, Polaris solutions do more than describe clinical change. Our systems also indicate if treatment is likely to have a positive result. Helping you make better decisions in the present by anticipating the future will be the difference in reducing your costs while improving patient care. Visit Polaris at http://www.polarishealth.com or follow us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Polaris-Health-Directions/414281978272?ref=ts.

Polaris Health Directions
Dr. Grant Grissom