ACT project tries out new mental health care navigation platform

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A new project led by the Digital Health Cooperative Research Centre is working on a care navigation platform to help patients and healthcare providers navigate the mental healthcare system.

This initiative also joins the University of Canberra, Swinburne University of Technology, ACT’s primary health network Capital Health Network, Psicost Research Association, and charity organisation Bupa Foundation.


The research team has designed and developed a multi-applicable, multi-modal and multi-level framework and related tools called Local Mental Health Care Operational Navigation Chart (MChart), which is currently being tested and reviewed for effectiveness in the ACT.

It has two variants: the MChart-P for clinicians, decision-makers and planners and the MChart-C for consumers and carers.

A research team from the Health Research Institute at the University of Canberra spent the past five years mapping the mental health service provisions across the country. According to Professor Luis Salvador-Carulla, the institute’s co-deputy director, they already completed the description of such provisions in a third of PHNs covering half of the Australian population while their mapping method has been tested in over 35 countries globally. 

“Our next goal is to use this knowledge to produce the best navigation tool of the mental healthcare system in Australia,” he said.


According to the DHCRC, Australia’s complex and disjointed mental healthcare system is creating a huge barrier for patients to efficiently access mental health treatment. The MChart project aims to support all stakeholders in navigating such a fragmented system.

“The navigation platform MChart has a unique potential impact in this environment – to improve [the] efficiency of the care system, reduce waste of care, and increase [the] wellbeing of the population [in] need,” said DHCRC CEO Annette Schmiede.

Following its trial in the ACT, the research team plans to scale the adoption of the MChart on a national level, according to Swinburne associate professor Amir Aryani.


Over the past two years, the DHCRC has supported projects that also aim to improve the access to mental healthcare and the operations of mental healthcare providers. 

Last year, it provided A$2 million ($1.4 million) funding to Monash University’s Enhanced Telehealth Capabilities project, which is creating new telehealth solutions to make existing web-based video telehealth services for mental health become more streamlined and safer.

In 2021, a DHCRC project in South Australia tried out a digital analytics tool for predicting adverse event risks in mental health departments across the Central and Southern Adelaide Local Health Networks.

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