Service User Engagement, Care & Treatment

04 November, 2022

Inpatient pilot project launches to improve how service users can contribute to care plans

Using Your Portal from St Patrick's Mental Health Services: a woman logs into the Your Portal online health platform on a tablet device

A new pilot project in Your Portal aims to improve how service users can contribute to and monitor their mental health care plans.

Launching from 7 November 2022, the Your Portal Inpatient Project will see a group of service users in St Patrick’s Mental Health Services (SPMHS) trialing a number of new features in Your Portal. The results of these trials will be used to test and enhance these new features, before making them widely available in Your Portal.

Your Portal is an online patient platform for service users here at SPMHS, and is the first of its kind from a health service in Ireland. It enables service users to access, document and share their own health-related information, and offers tools which support service users to more easily understand and evaluate their mental health recovery.


Development of new features in Your Portal

Development of new features in Your Portal

The pilot inpatient project is in place following the development of several new features in Your Portal. The design and development of these new features came about through collaboration between the Digital Health team in SPMHS; the portal provider, Patients Know Best (PKB); the clinical team in SPMHS; and the Remote Care Advisory Forum, a group of former service users who actively contribute to our digital health services. The pilot project is being launched to trial these new features and gather service users and clinician feedback on them before finalising them.

Every service user in SPMHS receives care from a multidisciplinary team (MDT), which is a group of diverse healthcare professionals who combine their knowledge and skills to coordinate and deliver the individualised care which best meets the person’s needs. The MDT, together with the service user, develops a care plan, which sets out the goals for the person’s recovery, along with the supports and tools that will help them to achieve these goals.

The new features developed in Your Portal aim to support service users to communicate as effectively as possible with their MDT and to be highly involved in their care plan. This in line with our human rights, recovery-focused ethos at SPMHS, which sees us strive to empower service users to control and guide their own treatment and mental healthcare.

Service user expectations

The first new feature enables service users to complete the Service User Expectations Form online shortly after their admission. This form asks the service user what they hope for and expect from their care in SPMHS. When the service user completes the form in Your Portal, their answers will automatically go into eSwift, which is the electronic health record used by our MDTs to manage the service user’s care. The MDT will review and use the service user’s information in their first meeting, ensuring that the service user’s wishes and perspectives are built into their personal care plan from the very beginning. A copy of the completed form will also be kept in Your Portal so that the service user can access it at any time they wish.

Key worker

A key benefit of Your Portal is that it can make it easier for service users to see who their key worker is and improve communications the service user has with their key worker. The key worker is the health professional responsible for overseeing that the service user’s care plan is running effectively and for making sure that the service user and their MDT work towards the same goals.

One of the new features in Your Portal will enable service users to easily see information about who their key worker is. If, for any reason, their key worker changes during their care, this information will be automatically updated in Your Portal, and the service user will receive a notification of this.

Care plan

Improving the care planning process is at the core of the new developments for Your Portal, with the final two new features forming part of this inpatient project focusing on this.

The first of these features will enable service users to complete the Service User Views and Opinions form online each week. A member of the service user’s MDT will invite them to fill out this form ahead of their MDT’s weekly meeting. The form asks the service user to give their thoughts on how their care plan or treatment is progressing. When the service user submits the finished form through Your Portal, their answers will automatically be shown in eSwift. This means that their MDT can use their answers during its next meeting to inform any changes to or developments with the care plan. The service user will also be able to see the completed form in Your Portal at any time.

The second feature then allows the service user’s key worker to send updated care plans to Your Portal. Between each MDT meeting, a copy of the service user’s current care plan will be sent to Your Portal so that they always have access to their most up to date plan. A copy of each update to the care plan will remain in Your Portal so that service users can review past versions at any time if they choose to.

Participants in the pilot project

Participants in the pilot project

The pilot inpatient project will be open to inpatient and Homecare service users who are receiving care from Dr Gavin Rush’s MDT based in the Delaney Ward of St Patrick’s University Hospital or St Patrick’s Hospital Lucan (St Edmundsbury). This group of service users will be invited to register for Your Portal and to actively use the new features listed above while they are receiving care.

The project focuses on a small number of service users in this pilot phase in order to be able to provide one-to-one support for participating service users and to offer a number of individual and group feedback opportunities.

Dr Gavin Rush says: “I and my MDT are delighted to be involved in this pilot project. It is really important to us not only that service users have as much information about their care as possible, but that they feel empowered to play an active part in their care planning and reassured that their views and opinions are embodied in their treatment." 

"Digital tools like Your Portal are being shown to improve communication and transparency in healthcare: we look forward to using Your Portal with service users and to working together on this next step forward.”

Future developments in Your Portal

Future developments in Your Portal

Results from the pilot phase will be used to make any refinements needed to improve and finalise these new features. Once these changes are made, it is hoped to roll the new features out widely in Your Portal.

Frankie Prendergast leads the Digital Health team supporting the Your Portal Inpatient Project. She explains that “these new features are just some of those which have come about as part of the phased development of Your Portal, which has been ongoing since its launch in 2020."

"We are thankful to the service users and staff taking part in this pilot project for their support in helping us to test and implement these new features, so that we can constantly improve Your Portal and empower more people in their mental health recovery journeys.”

Frankie adds, “Close to 2,000 service users are registered to use Your Portal to date. Our Remote Care Advisory Forum is instrumental in providing insights and guidance to help inform developments like those we are currently trialing, and we are very grateful to its members for all their input and support. We also greatly appreciate the strong engagement from staff and management in SPMHS, as well as our portal suppliers, PKB. We look forward to continuing to progress features in Your Portal into the future.”

See more and register for Your Portal

See more and register for Your Portal

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