Reducing Duration of Untreated Psychosis (DUP) is a primary goal for improving long-term outcomes in young people with a first episode of psychosis (FEP). The standard of FEP care within the US focuses on targeted provider education1 regarding signs and symptoms of early psychosis to motivate patient referrals to FEP services, followed by initiation of services within largely clinic-based settings 2. Experience at the Early Diagnosis and Preventive Treatment (EDAPT) FEP specialty program at U.C. Davis in Sacramento has identified two important bottlenecks to reducing DUP, consistent with reports in the literature from other FEP clinics. These are 1) delays in the identification of psychotic symptoms by referral sources, and 2) delays or disruptions of patient engagement in specialty FEP care. Building upon a comprehensive and established referral network of 20 sites across the Sacramento area (schools/universities, ER/inpatient hospitals, outpatient mental health, primary care), we will address delays in patient identification and engagement using a two- phase, cluster randomized design. We will consecutively test the impact of two interventions to reduce DUP, defined in this RFA as time from first onset of psychotic symptoms to engagement in FEP specialty care. To address identification delays, we will examine the use of standard targeted provider education plus novel technology-enhanced screening compared to standard targeted provider education alone, testing the hypothesis that the education plus technology-enhanced screening will identify more patients, earlier in their illness. To address engagement delays, we will compare the use of a mobile community-based, telepsychiatry- enhanced engagement team to standard clinic-based procedures for intake, engagement and initiation of treatment, to test the hypothesis that the mobile approach facilitates earlier and more stable engagement, thereby reducing DUP. The proposed work will provide new specific evidence-based practices for reducing DUP and improving outcomes through specialty care of individuals with a first episode of psychosis.
Through the use of technology-enhanced screening and engagement, the proposed project seeks to reduce the duration of untreated psychosis at a community level by addressing two bottlenecks: 1) delays in accurate identification and 2) delays in engagement in FEP care. The results of this project will provide new evidence- based practices for reducing DUP and improving outcomes in recent onset psychosis.
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