Jessica Maura, PhD, PostdoctoralFellow, University of Washington
Dr. Sarah Kopelovich,Assistant Professor, University of Washington
Research suggests that diagnostic accuracy in community mental health settings is poor; a troubling finding given that inaccurate diagnoses can delay engagement and appropriate treatment during a sensitive period. In addition, among individuals who develop a psychotic disorder, the Duration of Untreated Psychosis (DUP) impacts illness course, tenure in the community, long-term disability, and illness costs. Reducing DUP requires that individuals are accurately diagnosed as early as possible, a practice that is hindered in the U.S. by poor access to well-trained diagnosticians. In response to this issue, we have developed the Central Assessment of Psychosis Service (CAPS), an emerging clinical service extending specialized tele-evaluation of psychosis to first-episode psychosis teams throughout Washington. CAPS aims to reduce DUP by identifying youth earlier in the course of psychosis and providing detailed treatment recommendations to the referring treatment team. This presentation will detail the scope of this novel service, policies and procedures, challenges encountered in its development, and recommendations for providers and organizations interested in pursuing specialty tele-evaluation services. Tele-evaluation may represent an innovative way to increase the availability of specialized services for psychosis across diverse regions in the U.S., thereby reducing DUP and improving outcomes.