An overview of Project Synergy

Co-designing technology-enabled solutions for Australian mental health services reform

Project Synergy aims to test the potential of new and emerging technologies to enhance the quality of mental health care provided by traditional face-to-face services. Specifically, it seeks to ensure that consumers get the right care, first time (delivery of effective mental health care early in the course of illness).

Using co-design with affected individuals, Project Synergy has built, implemented and evaluated an online platform to assist the assessment, feedback, management and monitoring of people with mental disorders.

It also promotes the maintenance of wellbeing by collating health and social information from consumers, their supportive others and health professionals. This information is reported back openly to consumers and their service providers to promote genuine collaborative care.

The online platform does not provide stand-alone medical or health advice, risk assessment, clinical diagnosis or treatment; instead, it supports users to decide what may be suitable care options.

Using an iterative cycle of research and development, the first four studies of Project Synergy (2014–2016) involved the development of different types of online prototypes for young people:

  • attending university;
  • in three disadvantaged communities in New South Wales;
  • at risk of suicide;
  • attending five headspace centres.

These contributed valuable information concerning the co-design, build, user testing and evaluation of prototypes, as well as staff experiences during development and service quality improvements following
implementation.

Through ongoing research and development (2017–2020), these prototypes underpin one online platform that aims to support better multidimensional mental health outcomes for consumers; more efficient, effective and appropriate use of health professional knowledge and clinical skills; and quality improvements in mental health service delivery.

To find out more, visit the Project Synergy website