Computers as support in crisis
Dr. David H. Gustafson and colleagues developed an interactive program to interview severely depressed people to predict the risk of suicide. They discovered that patients in deep personal distress preferred to "talk" openly to a computer over a person. That was the first hint for the researchers that computers could provide support to people in crisis.
Computers for behavior change
The Body Awareness Resources Network (BARN), a computer-based health promotion/behavior change system to help adolescents deal with health and personal issues was created.
BARN was able to take adolescents that were worried about their risky behavior and help them change much more effectively than those who didn't have access to the system.
Multiple services in one system needed
The BARN researchers decided that an effective computer support system for people in health crises needed to offer a system of services that
- presents information in a variety of ways
- provides human and emotional support
- offers help in making and implementing difficult decisions
The Comprehensive Health Enhancement Support System (CHESS)
In 1989 the CHESS team received significant funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to develop and pilot test the initial CHESS "shell", a computer-based health system to help patients and their families become more actively involved in their treatment.
Early topics included Living with Breast Cancer, Living with HIV/AIDS, Adult Children of Alcoholics, Stress Management, Sexual Assault and Academic Crises.
Helping organizations improve healthcare delivery
Founded in 2003, NIATx (formerly the Network for the Improvement of Addiction Treatment) was developed as a simple model of process improvement for behavioral health organizations. Currently, the NIATx model has been used by over 3,000 organizations to improve access to and retention in treatment.
Reducing unnecessary suffering from cancer
CHESS became one of only five Centers of Excellence in Cancer Communication Research (CECCR) in the United States. The goal of the first Center (Technology Enhancing Cancer Communications) was to reduce unnecessary suffering from cancer.
CECCR projects pioneered the use of interactive cancer communication systems (ICS) for cancer patients and their families, especially the underserved.
CHESS goes mobile to help adolescents with asthma
For the first time the CHESS framework was used in a smartphone app.
The Mobile CHESS for Pediatric Asthma project was designed to help adolescents manage their asthma.
Tools on the app included a medication tracker, asthma action plan and videos of other teens talking about their experiences with asthma.
Increasing access to treatment - nationwide
The NIATx ACTION Campaign was an 18-month initiative to improve the lives of 55,000 people suffering from substance use disorders who had been unable to access or engage in treatment.
12 promising practices were created from the NIATx projects that organizations can use to improve access and engagement. Over 5,000 treatment organizations across the globe took part in the ACTION Campaign and ACTION Campaign II.
The first clinical trial to test process improvement in addiction treatment
NIATx 200 brought together 200 treatment providers from four states to study the adoption of specific NIATx process improvement strategies that have shown to improve treatment quality, operations, and finances.
Results showed that clinic-level coaching of NIATx techniques had the greatest impact on improving wait-time and number of new patients.
ACHESS - A smartphone app to prevent relapse
Continuing the Center's work with predictive analytics, A-CHESS provides monitoring, information, communication and support services to patient's leaving alcohol treatment. Features of the app include high-risk locators, a panic button and ways for patients and counselors to stay in contact and intervene if a relapse seems likely. Results from this randomized controlled trial showed that A-CHESS was able to reduce risky drinking days and that a multi-featured smartphone app may have a significant effect on patients in continuing care for alcohol-use disorders.
The power of empathy and "giving back" in an online cancer support group
Initial work in expression and reception effects shows that both receiving and, more importantly, giving empathic support is the core mechanism in reducing breast cancer concerns among our study population of computer-mediated social support (CMSS) groups.
Active Aging Resource Center
CHESS researchers in collaboration with the Wiconsin Institute of Healthy Aging and local county Aging and Disability Resource Centers developed a community-based information and community technology (ICT) system (Elder Tree) that improved quality of life among older adults.
New research beginning in 2017 will study the impact of the Elder Tree system on older adults suffering with multiple chronic conditions.