While primary care physicians may look for such problems in their patients, it can be difficult to keep abreast of possible treatments, especially pharmaceutical treatments.
“A family doctor sees a lot going through the door,” said Dr. Zach Sartor, family doctor and guidebook editor. “The (pharmapsychological) literature is quite extensive and much of it is not written with primary care physicians in mind.”
To rectify this, doctors at Waco Family Medicine began working about three years ago on a project, with funding from the Episcopal Health Foundation, which would distill current research and practice guidelines for mental health issues and behavioral in an easy-to-use format. Condensing literature was a daunting task, as was developing computer programs, Kelley said.
Doctors liked what they found in a medical app developed for cervical cancer screening and asked its Georgia-based developer Zimmdot to produce The Waco Guide app. A big step forward has been achieved through collaboration with the Massachusetts General Hospital Psychiatry Academy, whose faculty members have assessed and approved pharmacological and behavioral decision trees.
Aimed at general practitioners, the guide contains pharmacological recommendations for nearly a dozen special populations, including children and adult patients with heart disease, kidney or liver problems, and obesity. Getting the nod from some of the country’s top psychiatrists that the guide was accurate has proven to be a blow to the developers at Waco.