In the UK, treatment for first episode psychosis is recommended to last a minimum period of 3 years. The rationale is that evidence shows that the first 3-5 years after the initial episode are the most risky. However many EIP clinicians will report that providing treatment across 3 years is a difficult balance between arranging frequent meetings to see how people are getting on, with not wanting to get in the way of the rest of their life. This is particularly the case when people are recovering after an episode of psychosis.
EIP teams in the Oxford AHSN South Central (Thames Valley) region are piloting various ways, besides face to face appointments, that people can still benefit from the EIP team using technologies such as Skype for Business or patient held records like Patients Know Best (PKB).
The pilots have developed protocols to determine suitable candidates to trial alternatives to relying on face to face interactions. Whilst these technologies do not replace face to face clinical care, the aim and key question for the pilots is whether by offering service users these alternative means of contact, the service is more accessible and can achieve better engagement over the 3 years of treatment. Results from the pilots are expected in November 2017.