Stress Illness and The Health Care System (3)

After four and a half hours of instruction in how to do a Stress Check-Up (which is an Illness Chronology plus a Stress History), my next question was whether my audience of two dozen mental health professionals could use it to diagnose a “real patient.”  So I tested them.

Six volunteers pretended to be patients, having read descriptions of their “case” to themselves over lunch.  They took turns at the front of the room as their fellow classmates put them through a Stress Check-up, trying to uncover the cause of their symptoms.  Would my actors make it too easy or too difficult for the clinicians, I wondered?  Would the clinicians be able to find the diagnosis in these challenging and varied cases?

The outcome was remarkable.  The volunteers provided accurate representations of the real patients and the audience solved every case, some of them in 10-15 minutes.  For some of the cases they came up with insights I hadn’t considered myself.  A real patient would undoubtedly present more of a challenge but the class performed so well I have no question they could function effectively in my clinic and would only improve with more experience.

The seminar gave me confidence in a strategy for changing the health care system in the years to come, about which more in the next post.

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