A while back I wrote the blog post, What Gets Measured, Gets Managed. In the post I made the point that at the basic level, we as counselors, parents and teachers, should be measuring if our help is having a positive impact.
I call it FID, for Frequency, Duration and Intensity and still believe FID is a good, but basic, indicator for emotional or behavioral change. FID is simple to explain, simple to remember and simple to track.
But what FID does not offer is a constant reminder to stop your busy life, deeply contemplate and measure how well you are doing in treatment and take a snapshot of this measurement for later analysis and discussion. And that, no matter how motivated someone is to make changes in their lives, is the most difficult part of therapy.
But now we have Mentegram and I believe it’s the future of therapy. Founders Igor Holas and Milan Steskal have created what they call “a HIPAA compliant service for patient engagement and remote monitoring.”
Mentegram helps care providers improve clinical outcomes using:
- Clinical Dashboard
- Patient App
- Treatment Plans
- Patient Reminders
- Active Monitoring
- Software Integrations
This past summer I signed up for a therapist’s account for Mentegram and went through a brief online tutorial with Dennis Meneghini. Once Dennis loaded Mentegram’s dashboard I was hooked. Before me sat an elegant, yet simple progress chart showing me how a sample client had felt over the last week.
I immediately began running through scenarios in which this would be beneficial in counseling.
Imagine I’m seeing someone named Mike. I haven’t seen Mike for two weeks but I get to take a quick look at these charts for the past two weeks right before sitting down with him. I now get a snapshot of how he has been functioning.
Or imagine being prompted when Mike logs concerning scores for one or two days in a row, and being able to reach out to him to make sure he’s doing okay. Or to reach out and prevent the situation from escalating. Imagine…prevention in the mental health field. Imagine!
Therapy is tough because our memories are short. Often times therapists hear, “Everything’s alright, I guess.” But in reality there may have been a bad string of days a week prior. Mentegram allows both Mike and I to be on the same page when he walks through my door.
Also, when do Mike and I really know when it is time to discharge. “Reduction of symptoms”? Sure, that works, but I would feel much more confident after seeing data from Mike’s Mentegram that confirms progress. Then I can make an informed decision based upon a consistent pattern of progress.
And not only does Mentegram allow me to track progress, it also assists clients in remembering to submit their daily journal.
Since the majority of us have phones on us at all times, Mentegram also comes as an app for iPhones and Android devices. This allows the client to be reminded on a daily basis, at a time of day that works best for them. The reminder is fully customizable and can be set up for each questionnaire you create for the client.
For example, if you are helping someone track morning mood, you can set up a questionnaire reminder for 8:30 AM. And if you are helping them track anxiety after a work day, you can remind them at 6:15 PM. You can customize to the client’s life.
Mentegram also allows you to fully customize the questionnaire for each client. While they have some standard questionnaires, I’ve found the more detailed I make the questions, the more excited people become to use the tool.
Since I work with teens in my practice, I also have customized Mentegram to ask their parents to rate their day, complete with customized questionnaires for them. That way I’m getting both perspectives on a daily basis.
To get an idea of what the Mentegram app looks like on the client side, here are some screen shots:
The idea of therapists using homework with clients to track progress is not new. But the old way of completing homework was dependent on the client remembering, which seems easy, but as you can imagine, is quiet difficult to do on a daily basis. Mentegram on your phone, sending you a reminder removes this barrier.
Like anything online, privacy is a big issue. Mentegram is HIPAA compliant and clients will, of course, have to agree to use it. On top of that, I never put in any identifiable information about the client. Mentegram never asks for the diagnosis and I use first names only.
As you can tell, I love using Mentegram as it is a fantastic tool for therapists. For a private practitioner like myself, it costs me $40 a month, which is a very small price to pay for the benefits everyone I work with gets from using the service.
Admittedly, one thing I would change about the service is the pricing options. Currently they have three tiers of pricing. Standard, the one I use is $39 and Professional is $59 a month. Standard allows the tracking of 10 clients, while Professional allows the tracking of 100 clients.
For a full private practice, I would never need to be simultaneously tracking 100 clients, but I’ve already outgrown the 10 client limit. If they would bump up the Standard to 20 clients I’d have absolutely zero gripes about the service.
Mentegram has been truly amazing. If you’re a therapist make sure to check it out and ask them any questions you might have. I’ve found the customer service to be excellent by either sending e-mails or even simply tweeting either the founders or Dennis.
If you’re a therapist already using Mentegram, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it. Feel free to reach out to me on Twitter at @JonFilitti.