Customer Spotlight: Putting patients front and centre at WA Mental Health Commission

There’s major change underway in the mental health system in Western Australia and a case management system now being rolled out is helping to make that change possible.

Shortly after the WA Mental Health Commission was formed in 2010, it took on responsibility for the back-office functions of the Mental Health Review Board and the Council of Official Visitors. These two statutorily independent entities have important functions in monitoring and protecting patients receiving involuntary treatment. What they didn’t have were effective and efficient modern information systems.

The applications they relied upon were at least a decade old, contained duplicated records, did not have the benefit of ongoing regular maintenance and were awkward if not impossible to alter.   The applications were frustrating for staff and getting in the way of achieving best practice.  They were also obstacles to the process overhaul needed to meet the brief for effective patient-focused reform.

“The Commission is committed to mental health reform based around three pillars, person centred supports and services, better connections, and balanced investment , ” explains Patrick Langford, the Commission’s manager of information services.”

These principals drove the Commission’s thinking, planning, tendering and ultimately selection and customisation of its new case management solution, delivered using Microsoft’s Dynamics CRM 2013.

“The goal of this project is to use the new technology to deliver better outcomes from case management,” Mr Langford said.

“For consumers a major benefit is that it allows progress toward an authoritative patient record. As a person travels through the continuum of care and support, from diagnosis to leading a full and contributing life, the full picture can be seen.”

The first workload in the new solution, which was implemented with the support of management services company SMS Management & Technology, assists consumer advocates, and their management of incoming requests around issues raised by involuntary patients. It also allows the advocates, as case workers, to track, engage and resolve the issues as needed.

The second workload manages their scheduled ‘sitting days’ when a predefined group (a ‘review board’ including legal and community members and psychiatrists) has to be grouped, and sit for allocated case reviews. Leveraging the service calendar functionality, individual review boards can be automatically generated and allocated cases for patients, and is entirely configurable by business rules to manage the changing legislative requirements in this space.

Both of these workloads then automatically create all timesheets for the advocates and review board members with direct import into the payroll system and manage all expenses incurred. Efficiency is obtained with full approval workflows and automation to simplify all aspects of their service delivery processes.

The core solution is delivered from the Dynamics CRM 2013 platform, deployed on Windows Server 2012 and SQL 2012 in partnership with WA based Microsoft Gold partner, Zettaserve.  It is deployed via private cloud across the State to the Commission’s various sites and field workers.  Once the rollout is complete, it will be used by case workers, management and administration staff, with about 80 users in the first phase.

“We were open to off the shelf solutions. If someone had invented the wheel we weren’t going to do it again. But no-one had done it,” Paul Millwood, Project Lead and Business Analyst for the Mental Health Commission said.

The beauty of the CRM platform is it leaves plenty of scope for future development and will keep pace as the mental health reform engine rolls on.

Legislation before Parliament will replace the Mental Health Review Board with a Mental Health Tribunal and the Mental Health Advocacy Service will replace the Council of Official Visitors. These changes and others ushered in by the new law are focused on delivering greater protection and certainty for consumers. An integrated case management system can assist in achieving that goal.

“Already we are beginning to talk about what additional releases we could do in the next 12 months,” Mr Langford added.

“We have a good idea now of the character of the Dynamic CRM platform. We know what runs well out of the box and what we can change. We’ve been impressed by how quickly it can be customized and how code can be customized to run on top.”

“One direction I am very keen to explore is around mobilising the workforce. I am very keen that people can engage with this system when they are with patients,” Mr Langford said.


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