May 31, 2023

Transforming Mental Health in Unlikely Places: Denovo Therapy's Approach to Breaking Barriers and the Power of Journaling

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Meet Denovo Therapy, a multidisciplinary full-service therapy clinic based in Lubbock, Texas. From its evolution from just one room, one physician, and a therapist to becoming a beacon of clinical and operational excellence, Denovo has made a significant impact on the mental health care landscape.

Meeting Patients Where They Are: The Lubbock Community's Partner in Care

Denovo believes in meeting patients where they are, both emotionally and physically. They understand that the stigma surrounding therapy can be a significant barrier to care—especially when introducing novel treatments like ketamine to a conservative population. The team at Denovo strives to build trust on both a personal level and in the therapeutic process.

As Ben McCauley, the founder, puts it, “We want patients to be focused on trusting their intuition for seeking healing support outside of the stigma surrounding therapy.” By meeting patients where they are, Denovo has become a partner in their care.

Many of Denovo’s patients initially prefer IV ketamine treatment over ketamine-assisted therapy. This is because the intravenous (IV) treatment resonates more with the familiar medical model that they are used to. Patients who respect the medical track may shy away from therapy due to past failures or the stigma attached to it. However, with time and trust, Ben found that many patients warm up to the idea of ketamine-assisted therapy.

High Clinical Standards and a Cross-Disciplinary Approach

Denovo's cross-disciplinary approach is evident in how they conduct team meetings and collaborate on patient care. McCauley says the team frequently mentioned instances when the team comes together to discuss seemingly contradictory patient data, such as when a patient's PHQ-9 score goes down, but their GAD score goes up. These discussions allow the team to provide a holistic care package, addressing the unique needs of each patient.

By working together, psychiatrists, psychologists, and therapists at Denovo can devise comprehensive treatment plans that not only address the symptoms but also delve deeper into the root causes of the patient's issues.

Choosing the Right EHR Makes All the Difference

In his journey through healthcare, McCauley encountered many Electronic Health Records (EHRs). His experience in clinical informatics exposed him to systems that were cumbersome, outdated, and difficult to use. When setting up Denovo, he initially opted for paper documentation, designing custom templates for health histories and physical examinations. However, as the clinic grew, it became clear that a digital solution was necessary for sustainable growth.

Unfortunately, most EHRs on the market proved disappointing. They were either too focused on the medical model, too focused on therapy, or simply had no idea how to handle the unique needs of a ketamine clinic. After several trials with various EHRs, Ben knew he needed a system that wouldn't require a makeshift, band-aid solution.

Why Denovo chose Osmind for his practice

The turning point came when Ben discovered Osmind at a conference. Osmind offered an innovative, user-friendly solution tailored to the unique needs of psychedelic therapy providers. Its easy-to-use interface required virtually no training, and providers could immediately start using the system.

One of the main drivers for adopting Osmind was its seamless patient interaction features. With the Osmind app, patients could track their progress, providing valuable data to their care team. This data could be used to gain insights into patient experiences, especially when their reported experiences weren't aligning with their scores. These contradictions often gave rise to fruitful discussions in therapy sessions, revealing more about patient expectations and perceptions of their treatment.

Moreover, Osmind provided an early warning system of sorts. When a patient's scores indicated a decline, it served as a signal for the team to evaluate whether this was part of a larger trend or just a temporary life event. The intuitive nature of Osmind, combined with its ability to provide real-time patient data, made it an invaluable tool in delivering patient-centered care.

McCauley’s motto, "Don't do what the hospital does," speaks to his commitment to innovate and rethink the care delivery model at every step. In Osmind, he found a partner that shared his vision for a more patient-centric approach to healthcare.

“When I saw what Osmind was doing, I realized they were trying to innovate the space and create a solution that works that isn't so cumbersome. And of course, when I demoed it, I said, ‘This is a no-brainer. This is it.’”

The Power of Journaling: A Patient's Journey

Denovo recently published a unique case study that underscores the power of journaling during therapeutic treatment. The case involved a medical student who was suffering from PTSD, generalized anxiety, treatment-resistant depression, and suicidality. The student chose to live-type their subjective experiences during IV ketamine treatments, offering a real-time perspective of their mental state and the effects of the treatment.

This level of patient involvement was not only unprecedented but also incredibly insightful. Journaling became an invaluable tool for understanding the patient's experience, shedding light on the effects of ketamine treatment as it was happening. Psychedelic-like experiences are highly personal and we can’t ignore the patient’s subjective experience. This real-time record of a patient's thoughts and feelings during therapy highlights the power of collecting real-world evidence.

This patient-directed approach to care allowed for the resolution of the student's suicidality and PTSD within a month, and nearly all their symptoms within eight months.

Advancing the Future of Mental Health Care at a Societal Level

Denovo is committed to advancing the future of mental health care at a societal level. Their team is dedicated to providing the best possible care to their patients, breaking down barriers to access, and reducing the stigma associated with mental health care.

Through its integrated care model, high clinical standards, and commitment to community, Denovo is not only transforming the lives of its patients but also shaping the future of mental health care.

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