People, processes and systems: an observational study of the role of technology in rural youth mental health services

Orlowski, Simone, Lawn, Sharon, Matthews, Ben, Venning, Anthony, Jones, Gabrielle, Winsall, Megan, Antezana, Gaston, Bidargaddi, Niranjan and Musiat, Peter (2016) People, processes and systems: an observational study of the role of technology in rural youth mental health services. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 26 3: 259-272. doi:10.1111/inm.12262

Author Orlowski, Simone
Lawn, Sharon
Matthews, Ben
Venning, Anthony
Jones, Gabrielle
Winsall, Megan
Antezana, Gaston
Bidargaddi, Niranjan
Musiat, Peter
Title People, processes and systems: an observational study of the role of technology in rural youth mental health services
Journal name International Journal of Mental Health Nursing   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1447-0349
Publication date 2016-11-23
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/inm.12262
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 26
Issue 3
Start page 259
End page 272
Total pages 14
Place of publication Richmond, Australia
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell
Language eng
Abstract The merits of technology-based mental health service reform have been widely debated among academics, practitioners, and policy makers. The design of new technologies must first be predicated on a detailed appreciation of how the mental health system works before it can be improved or changed through the introduction of new products and services. Further work is required to better understand the nature of face-to-face mental health work and to translate this knowledge to computer scientists and system designers responsible for creating technology-based solutions. Intensive observation of day-to-day work within two rural youth mental health services in South Australia, Australia, was undertaken to understand how technology could be designed and implemented to enhance young people's engagement with services and improve their experience of help seeking. Data were analysed through a lens of complexity theory. Results highlight the variety of professional roles and services that can comprise the mental health system. The level of interconnectedness evident in the system contrasted with high levels of service self-organization and disjointed information flow. A mental health professional's work was guided by two main constructs: risk and engagement. Most clients presented with a profile of disability, disadvantage, and isolation, so complex client presentations and decision-making were core practices. Clients (and frequently, their families) engaged with services in a crisis-dependent manner, characterized by multiple disengagements and re-engagements over time. While significant opportunities exist to integrate technology into existing youth mental health services, technologies for this space must be usable for a broad range of medical, psychological and cognitive disability, social disadvantage, and accommodate repeat cycles of engagement/disengagement over time.
Keyword Complexity theory
Health system
Youth mental health
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: HERDC Pre-Audit
School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering Publications
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Created: Thu, 15 Dec 2016, 01:07:26 EST by Ben Matthews on behalf of School of Information Technol and Elec Engineering