Background: The psychiatric intake interview is crucial for the delivery of quality care. Currently, the interview in most public clinics varies in nature. It often consists of a clinical face-to-face interview (structured/unstructured) with or without self-report questionnaires (systematic/non-systematic). By integrating structured computerized self-report questionnaires into the intake, the assessment process could be shortened, and diagnostic accuracy increased. Objectives: The study aims to assess whether adding structured computerized questionnaires will increase the efficacy of the intake process, as indicates by shortened intakes and a higher level of diagnostic accuracy, for children and adolescents in mental health clinics in Israel. Methodology: Patients (Mage = 8.62, SDage = 1.86; 33.8% females) referred to the youth mental health clinic of Maccabi HaSharon district, were included in either the CIA group (Comprehensive Intake Assessment - with questionnaires) or IAU group (Intake as Usual - without questionnaires). Results: In terms of accuracy and time measurements, the CIA group had higher diagnostic accuracy and a shorter intake duration of 6.63 min, almost 15% of an intake meeting, compared to the IAU group. No differences were found in satisfaction and therapeutic alliance between the groups. Conclusions and Implications: More accurate diagnosis is essential to tailor the appropriate treatment for the child's needs. Moreover, reducing intake time by a few minutes contributes significantly to the ongoing activities of mental health clinics. With this reduction, more intakes can be scheduled at a given time, optimizing the intake process, and reducing long wait times, which are increasing due to the growing demand for psychotherapeutic and psychiatric care.
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- Psychiatric assessment
- Public mental health clinics
- Self-report questionnaires