First national online directory for eating disorders

Morgan Liotta

15/07/2022 2:52:37 PM

The site links credentialed healthcare providers to ensure access to appropriate treatment pathways.

GP searching online while on phone
The new directory allows healthcare providers to easily search for and locate referring services for treating patients with eating disorders.

In further recognition of eating disorder presentations and to support both healthcare providers and patients, Australia now has its first credentialed online directory.
Launched in June, connect·ed is designed to help people experiencing eating disorders to identify and fast track access to the appropriate treatment, and will enable credentialed healthcare providers to easily search for and locate the referring service.
With Federal Government support, the Australia and New Zealand Academy for Eating Disorders (ANZAED) and the National Eating Disorders Collaboration (NEDC) have established a credentialing system for eating disorders.
The system aims to ensure healthcare providers who meet the requirements to provide this type of care safely and effectively are formally recognised, including include GPs, mental health care providers and dietitians.
Eating disorders comprise a complex range of disorders, which GPs have reported as often difficult to raise with patients, in addition to navigating suitable management and referral pathways.
Dr Krishna Ghosh said the new directory will assist in referring patients to mental health professionals and dietitians experienced in treating eating disorders.
‘For GPs like me, finding the right treatment provider is often down to word of mouth,’ she said.
‘We do the best we can to help get our patients into treatment – having this resource at our fingertips will make all the difference.’
Credentialed eating disorder clinicians who have received the ANZAED Credential are searchable by location and can indicate if they offer in person or telehealth services, or whether they are taking appointments, have a waiting list or their books are currently closed.
The directory was developed in consultation with health professionals and people with lived experience of eating disorders, to help fill gaps which may prevent people seeking treatment.
Melbourne GP Dr Elizabeth Crouch has a special interest in eating disorders. She previously told newsGP she has experienced a surge in patients presenting with existing and new eating disorders, and it is important to be aware that this patient population requires increased support. 
‘People will need nuts and bolts in support and problem solving to be able to monitor [their eating behaviours],’ she said.
The credentialing system and directory aligns with evidence-based criteria from the recently published ANZAED clinical practice and training standards and the NEDC Workforce Core Competencies, which set the framework for the safe and effective identification of and response to eating disorders in the Australian context.
ANZAED say the standards ‘ensure best practice, patient safety and optimal patient outcomes in the management of eating disorders’.
Dr Siân McLean, ANZAED President, believes the connect·ed directory will help streamline the process of seeking appropriate care, particularly for people in regional and rural areas.
‘The credential is a milestone for eating disorder professionals and people seeking treatment around Australia, including in regional areas,’ she said.
‘Finding and connecting with a mental health professional or dietitian who is trained in eating disorder management can be challenging, often impacting on the recovery journey of people living with an eating disorder.’
According to ANZAED, more than 600 mental health care providers and dietitians across public and private settings have been recognised as Credentialed Eating Disorder Clinicians since applications opened in November 2021.
‘The ANZAED Eating Disorder Credential recognises minimum standards required for clinical practice and, importantly for people seeking treatment or professionals seeking referrals, will help build the eating disorders workforce,’ Dr McLean said.
‘We know that finding the right treatment when it’s needed increases the chance of timely intervention, a faster recovery journey and positive treatment outcomes.
‘Connect·ed allows people experiencing an eating disorder to search with confidence and connect with the right treatment for them.’
GPs can search for other treatment providers to make a referral, as well as apply to be become a Credentialed Eating Disorder Clinician on the connect·ed website.
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