The Black Dog Institute’s mental health platform, tailored for frontline healthcare workers – TEN – was built with the analytical power of SAS and has reached 33,000 Australian health professionals. However, further funding is now based on the outcome of the federal budget for 2021-22.
COVID-19 has hit everyone hard, and the frontline healthcare workers are no exception. Relentless demands and stresses affect their mental well-being in their professional and private life. As part of its $ 74 million package to support the mental health, wellbeing of all Australians, the Commonwealth Department of Health funded the Black Dog Institute to develop an online support platform tailored for these workers. This was published as The Essential Network, or TEN.
TEN provides tools and resources to help frontline healthcare workers deal with and manage stress, burnout, anxiety, depression, and other mental illnesses. TEN launched in its first iteration in two weeks and has since reached 33,000 healthcare professionals across Australia.
The Black Dog Institute relied on research by Australian health professionals which found that more than 50% were concerned about contracting COVID-19 and 80% were concerned about their loved ones. Increased psychological stress rates and reports of depression, anxiety, and stress higher than expected meant the platform needed to be rolled out quickly and efficiently.
The platform was optimized based on in-depth knowledge from the customer intelligence and cloud platforms of SAS, user advice and the broader partner community of the project.
Dr. Simon Judkins, Director of Emergency Medicine, said, “As a doctor over the age of 25 and having worked as an ambulance for 20 years, I am very aware of my own mental wellbeing and my surroundings. It has not always been this way. As healthcare professionals, by default we put the health and wellbeing of others before our own and often find little time to prioritize ourselves. We don’t seek help until we feel we really need it, or until family, friends, or colleagues strongly encourage it … even then, we find it difficult to ask for help.
“Personally, I found the TEN platform very helpful and easily accessible. With self-management tools, tips for talking to colleagues, and options for telemedicine sessions, this is a comprehensive platform that gives us the tailored support we need. “
Nicole Cockayne, Director Strategy and Operations at the Black Dog Institute, said: “Our existing partnership with SAS was instrumental in ensuring that we met the tight project deadline. As a company, they are agile, fast-paced and deliver the necessary knowledge and insights that we need to develop solutions that not only work, but are also effective and retain their relevance as they focus on continuous improvement through in-depth knowledge.
“After the first phases of the project, working with SAS was crucial in order to prioritize the ongoing direction of the project and in particular which channel – the mobile app and the online website – we should continue to invest in.
“With significantly more traffic on the site and less demand for telemedicine interactions, we quickly realized that users wanted to use the site for tools and resources for self-management. In response, we have restarted a new and improved version of the TEN-Online website. More than 40 additional resources were added based on user interaction, ”continued Cockayne.
TEN saw over 10,000 users adoption in the first two months and rose to 33,000 in the first ten months. The platform restarted in March 2021 and saw click-through rates on self-help resources and online reviews increase by 500%.
SAS customer intelligence technology products SAS 360 Discover, SAS 360 Engage, and SAS Viya consistently ensured that the platform was focused on the resources that users were looking for and engaging with.
SAS turned insights into actionable outcomes for the project, including highlighting new and updated resources and leveraging A / B user experience tests.
Lynette Clunies-Ross, Regional Vice President, SAS Australia and New Zealand, said, “We are proud to be working with Black Dog Institute on such an important initiative for our health care workers on the front lines, and it is really encouraging that The federal government recognizes mental health as a priority and is investing in the digital transformation of our health sector. Our SAS platform is designed to expand and enable the Black Dog Institute and its partners’ capabilities and services to support frontline health workers. It’s great to see professionals from across the range of services gain real-time insights into the effectiveness of TENs and make quick decisions to fine-tune their offerings. The platform was really developed by medical professionals, for medical professionals. “
Further state investments in the platform will be determined this week after the federal budget 2021-22. With frontline healthcare workers hardest hit during the COVID-19 pandemic and the continued adoption of the vaccine, the platform and its resources are in high demand.
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