New GP hub to provide ‘360-degree’ eating disorder support

Matt Woodley

7/06/2023 4:48:51 PM

The digital platform is due to launch in the second half of 2023 and will offer a suite of tailored treatment options.

GP using InsideOut tool to talk to patient.
The suite of tools has been designed to be embedded into practice processes and software.

GPs will soon have access to a digital platform that aims to make treatment available to anyone with an eating disorder, no matter where they live.
Produced by the InsideOut Institute, the eClinic and GP Hub have been developed in collaboration with GPs and is being supported by a $4 million grant that will help the new resource go live in the second half of this year.
Dr Karen Spielman, a GP with a special interest in eating disorders, has worked as a consultant on the project and told newsGP she is excited about the ‘flexible and interactive’ resource’s potential to help both patients and clinicians.
‘It’s a new way of accessing information and resources that is able to individualise both to the level of the GP’s interest and expertise and the patient’s presenting issues,’ she said.
‘We’ve called it a 360-degree tool that can help at practical level, with resources for the whole practice such as templates and referral databases etcetera.
‘It’s not didactic and no one is “telling GPs what they can do better” – it comes from a place of collegial support where we are helping practitioners access the right information they need at the right time.
‘We’ve had a GP advisory group involved all along and it’s been really responsive to what people need and the feedback we’ve had is so positive.’
The eClinic will provide access to eTherapy programs including Binge Eating eTherapy (BEeT), Brief Binge Eating eTherapy (Brief BEeT), SupportED and a clinical toolkit.
Meanwhile, the GP Hub will take a whole-of-practice approach and is set to include:

  • an eScreener and eAssessement
  • a clinical decision support tool to aid diagnosis and inform treatment prescription that matches stage of illness and individual need
  • links to InsideOut’s Treatment Services Database and Treatment Team Builder, facilitating appropriate referrals
  • information about complex care support and escalation guidelines,
  • a Practice Management Toolkit
  • an option to link patients with InsideOut’s eTherapy platform for pure self-help treatment accessible immediately.
‘This suite of tools was designed to be seamlessly embedded into practice processes and software, helping GPs to find the answers they need in real time,’ InsideOut Primary Care Lead Sally Corry said.
‘Our GP Hub will address a major gap in care and aims to improve safety and care pathways for those with an eating disorder.’
According to InsideOut, all of its eTherapy programs have been developed and evaluated by a team of specialist eating disorder clinicians, researchers, and digital designers, as well as experts with lived experience.
The institute’s National Programs Manager, Peta Marks, told newsGP the project began as a decision-making tool aimed at helping with diagnosis, but eventually grew into a tool aimed at supporting the ‘entire ecosystem’.
‘This is a co-designed digital platform that we developed in collaboration with a group of GPs with fairly diverse experiences – some who are very experienced in working with people, right through to GPs who are very inexperienced,’ she said.
‘We’ve tried to hear from and include the practice dilemmas and ideas, and things that GPs want from right across that spectrum.
‘It’s a one-stop shop, essentially, for all of the information that they’re going to need to be able to help them managing people with eating disorders at whatever stage they present.’
Eating disorders have increased in recent years, especially among young people and particularly during the pandemic, but are often under-recognised.
And while GPs are critical as the first point of health system contact, Ms Marks says many report feeling out of their depth when trying to identify and treat people with eating disorders.
‘GPs have the skills … they just need the right kind of support and information to help guide their practice,’ she said.
‘If we help GPs identify people sooner and give them the resources they need to intervene early, they will help people to avoid more severe and longer-term eating disorders.’
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