Tickit Health solution to be used by schools
July 8, 2020
SURREY, BC – As students head back to school in Surrey, the School District wants to know how families of their students are coping with the COVID-19 pandemic. To do this, they are using the Back 2 School Readiness Assessment tool, created in collaboration with Tickit Health. The tool addresses families’ needs through an empathic interactive screening and support tool.
Dr. Daniel To, district principal at the Surrey School District wants to know what challenges the students and their families may be facing in the return to the classroom but felt sending a traditional survey wouldn’t achieve his aim. Although it would gather data, it would only be a one-way information portal, with no feedback to the users, and would be lacking in empathy and structure.
“Most surveys are written at high school or above level, like a multiple-choice test,” said To. “Tickit speaks to the common denominator, so all people can answer questions effectively.”
Dr. To wanted an assessment to capture critical and sensitive information to assist families with the barriers they face. In collaboration with Tickit Health the interactive tool was created to ask questions around challenges that the family faces related to health and safety including social relations, food & financial security, and home life, providing families with vetted resources and tips based on their responses. Mental health will be addressed and families can request counselling through the platform.
A trial of the tool’s effectiveness is being completed and the assessment tool is ready for implementation. The Tickit system equips school staff with much needed insight into families’ experiences to help them in transitioning their children back to school, while directly connecting families to the local community resources they need without staff intervention. It reaches families that slipped through the cracks – ensuring students’ and families’ voices are heard so their needs can be met.
As schools across the country evaluate resources and plan for a return to school, districts and teachers are faced with the bigger question, how will schools have the capacity to cope with the impact of changes the students have experienced, and how will these changes impact attendance and mental health?
Sandy Penn Whitehouse (pictured), a pediatrician and chief medical officer at Tickit Health suggests starting with empathy, and adding digital tools. A streamlined approach to assessing each unique family and student while not overburdening school resources can help triage and support each student.
Given the sensitivity of the issues, to be effective the solution needs to incorporate empathy. Dr. Whitehouse refers to this as Digital Empathy, a term coined by Tickit Health; making the effort of embedding compassion, cognition, and emotion into the overall digital framework, content, design and functionality to create a valuable and meaningful experience for the user.
A digitally empathic design creates a non-judgmental environment, a critical component in any school or healthcare setting. Tickit Health has routinely demonstrated that Digitally Empathic tools see higher response rates and respondents feel more comfortable sharing their personal experiences. This better equips schools, teachers, healthcare providers, and others to more effectively use their limited resources – including time – to support students and patients to return to physical, mental, and academic success.
Tickit Health was formed in 2012 based on the initial clinical work of Dr. Whitehouse who had been addressing the issue of obtaining high quality, accurate information in order to improve health outcomes in her clinical practice. Her research, validated by other researchers around the world, has demonstrated that the way questions are asked has a profound impact on the quality of the information collected, and in turn, the impact of effecting care, and improving outcomes.
Tickit Health has other tools in effect through North America. In the US, Reclaiming Futures is also leveraging Tickit and a Digitally Empathetic approach to support students’ transition back to the classroom. “Here to Help, Let’s Connect,” is an interactive tool that provides resources available in the area, tips, and asks holistic questions about mental health, well-being, home life, and financial security. By equipping families with tools to support themselves independently and arming school staff with critical information to support at risk students, Reclaiming Futures is showing how this tool will support staff in meeting students’ complex needs following the school shutdown caused by coronavirus.
St. Charles CARE Centre, a Louisiana-based youth mental and behavioral health non-profit, first piloted the Here to Help, Let’s Connect solution. Executive director Lauren Johnson noted that the tool “is providing an effective way to reach out to our community to offer tips and resources that help them immediately, and provides us the ability to focus our live human support to those who need it most.”
These innovative projects will ensure schools are equipped with the necessary tools to meet student and family needs, whether it be counselling, connecting them with food banks, legal aid, or transportation to school.
Students will need extra support in the transition back to school. The challenge for schools lies in managing the demands of this overwhelming transition, while identifying who needs support and connecting them to it. Tickit’s Digitally Empathetic approach is helping educators and clinicians more effectively engage with, and support their students and patients, providing a way forward.