By Shiri Sadeh-Sharvit, Ph.D.
Chief Clinical Officer, Eleos Health
- In 2021, Yeshiva University’s Wurzweiler School of Social Work in New York City began an innovative partnership with Eleos Health to help therapists in training learn to leverage technology to improve care.
- Eleos Health made it possible to teach students practically and assess students critically, which increased students’ attainment of knowledge.
- Therapists in training found that using Eleos Health helped them to learn more quickly and gain a superior understanding of the therapeutic alliance.
On May 5, 2022, Dr. Hanni Flaherty of Wurzweiler published a paper about the Eleos Health partnership, “Teaching Note – Using Technology to Enhance Experiential Learning Through Simulated Role Plays” in the Journal of Social Work Education.
The Need for Technology in Behavioral Health
The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the need for clinicians to be comfortable with technology and virtual care, inside and outside of the classroom. In behavioral health, where the primary treatment is conversation, applying technology to augment clinicians’ abilities can open the door to unprecedented insights and benefits.
At Eleos Health, we are freeing what’s been trapped inside the black box of therapy conversations: the full, objective understanding of how both the clinician and client engaged, what was discussed and which evidence-based interventions were applied. Our capabilities include evaluating the therapeutic alliance, which has an outsized impact on outcomes but is notoriously difficult to measure.
How Eleos Health Complements Behavioral Health Clinicians in Care Delivery
Like a digital assistant or embedded companion, Eleos Health seamlessly integrates into clinicians’ existing workflows and systems, helping them to complete required clinical documentation with ease. It complements their memory and intuition with hard data about each session. With artificial intelligence (AI) that is programmed to understand and interpret meaning from the context in which words are spoken, Eleos Health can generate reporting about key themes and topics discussed (see example below) as well as recognize key moments in the dialogue.
Thanks to clinician feedback and machine learning across more than 50,000 sessions, Eleos Health can accurately measure fidelity to evidence-based interventions, highlighting strengths as well as opportunities for improvement. Eleos Health even measures things like talk vs. listen ratio and the number of seconds a clinician waits before speaking, which correlate to the therapeutic alliance and client experience. Armed with this new visibility and feedback, clinicians can hone their skills and gain new clarity on how to best support each of their clients.
The Benefits of Using Eleos Health for Training
For therapists in training, using Eleos Health can accelerate learning and build confidence in facing real-world situations. We were thrilled when Maccabee Ventures (an Eleos Health investor) introduced us to Wurzweiler, who recognized the value that Eleos Health could bring to its professors and students. Beginning in 2021, Dr. Hanni Flaherty (Assistant Professor and Associate Director of curricular and pedagogical innovation at Wurzweiler) led the charge to structure an experiential learning program that leveraged technology-assisted, simulation-based learning powered by Eleos Health. The program worked as follows:
- Students were remote and grouped into pairs by time zone.
- Students were given a scenario in which they took turns playing the part of the clinician and client in recorded telehealth-based therapy sessions lasting 30-45 minutes.
- The session recordings were uploaded to the Eleos Health system where voice-based AI, Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Natural Language Understanding (NLU) algorithms evaluated each session.
- Eleos Health returned analytics on each session, showing students their performance in building the therapeutic alliance, demonstrating empathy, assessing client needs, and utilizing evidence-based practices.
- The students used the Eleos Health analytics and recordings to evaluate their performance and identify key moments to discuss with their professor.
- The professor reviewed the recordings, analytics, and evaluation with each student to discuss learnings, strengths, and opportunities for improvement.
The results of this collaboration demonstrate that technology-assisted experiential learning coupled with data-driven feedback improves students’ comprehension and confidence in applying evidence-based techniques. An unexpected benefit of the program was that students developed more empathy for the client and greater self-awareness as a clinician. Other educators, such as the eClinic at Palto Alto University in California, have since engaged Eleos Health for similar collaborations.
A Call to Action
By bringing objective measurement with Eleos Health to what has traditionally been unmeasured, organizations can scale training, supervision, and performance improvement. Whether they are inside or outside of the classroom, clinicians can go from receiving limited, occasional supervisor feedback on select cases to receiving rich, detailed feedback on every session.
As stated in the 2021 discussion paper “Artificial Intelligence for Health Professions Educators,” AI “will not replace providers, but providers who leverage AI will replace those who do not.” The same can be said for the organizations who train and employ providers. Applying AI-powered technology to assist behavioral health clinicians is not just the way of the future, it is happening today. And with growing pressure on organizations to demonstrate quality and efficacy, it will no longer be a “nice to have” – it will be a necessity.
Patient demand for behavioral health is outpacing clinician capacity, clinicians are struggling with burnout, and staffing is cited as a top challenge for provider organizations. It’s never been more important to ease the burdens on clinicians and give them the tools they need to help clients get better, faster. Eleos is here to help behavioral health leaders and staff navigate today’s challenges and build competencies that prepare them for whatever the future brings.
Are you with a behavioral health provider organization and interested in learning more? We’d love to get to know you, so please request a meeting.