On March 2, the Care Plus NJ (“CarePlus”) Partial Care Department was awarded an IT Hero Award from the New Jersey Association of Mental Health and Addiction Agencies (“NJAMHAA”) for Outstanding Use of New Technology.
CarePlus Partial Care Services are offered six hours a day, five days a week for adults with severe and persistent mental illness. The integrated approach to wellness addresses all aspects of health through a variety of skill-building groups and interactions with a diverse range of healthcare professionals. The program was awarded the IT Hero Award because of the Client Cloud project and the Technology for Wellness group that was launched in 2015.
“It has been a vision of CarePlus’ CEO, Joe Masciandaro, for the last few years to find a way to get technology in the hands of our clients,” explained Shelby Klein, Vice President of Development at CarePlus. “At every leadership meeting, when innovation was discussed, he said the same thing: We need to enable the clients with technology so they can be engaged in their own health and wellness.”
The program started the Client Cloud project with grant funding from the Cardinal Health Foundation, which allowed for the purchase of Samsung tablets and Smart Boards to engage the first group of participants.
“We wanted to find a way to adopt a client facing technology that could supplement our integrated care model efforts and assist in reaching our goals of improving outcomes for our clients,” Klein continued.
Partial Care Program Director, Jessica Costa, created the Technology for Wellness group to educate participants on how to use the new technology and build familiarity with the Client Cloud web portal. Some of the main links on the web portal include health videos and resources, YouTube, Facebook, drug/supplement information and the client health information portal.
Since the day it started, the Technology for Wellness group has been the highest attended group in partial care with well over 90% attendance. CarePlus reported that the outcomes and the client feedback have been positive. It is significant to note that the majority of participants had little to no experience with technology before the project launched.
“When you hear someone tell you ‘I have always been afraid to go get a job because I didn’t have any computer skills’ and now they say, but now I am fully comfortable and don’t fear going to find a job.’ That says it all,” concluded Klein.
CarePlus has secured grant funding through the CarePlus Foundation and is in the process of implementing “myStrength” as an additional tool for monitoring health management and engagement. The organization hopes to expand the reach of this project so that more individuals can benefit from integrating technology into wellness.