A Better Option: cliexa’s digital platform unlocks powerful new data for sexual health screening

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A Better Option: cliexa’s digital platform unlocks powerful new data for sexual health screening


Lisa Rue, PhD, Senior Advisor


Now that we have come out the other side of the Covid-19 Pandemic, we have time to refocus health care efforts to improving patient-focused experiences in primary care to start to tackle another epidemic. The epidemic of sexually transmitted disease within adolescent populations. According to a 2018 report by the CDC, sexually transmitted infections are at an all-time high in adolescents.


A recent federal grant has provided a proof of concept opportunity for a unique collaboration between the University of Northern Colorado’s Applied Psychology and Counselor Education Program (APCE) and North Colorado Family Medicine. Doctoral students from APCE support Family Physicians at North Colorado Family Medicine using the innovative cliexa-OPTIONS platform supporting an integrated approach to adolescent health and wellness


Adolescent patients are screened using the cliexa-OPTIONS digital health screening before seeing their family physician. Based on their inputs, a patient’s risk for depression, anxiety, or sexual risk, are flagged and their doctor explores this risk with the patient during their brief visit. High-risk patients are referred immediately to one of our APCE doctoral students. This unique integrated care approach provides more comprehensive care before the patient leaves the office. Patients scoring high in sexual risk are asked to complete MyPLAN after they leave the clinic. They complete MyPLAN using their mobile phone in the comfort of their home. Their wellness plan is securely delivered to their mental health professional who reviews this information before the follow-up appointment.


Results from a recent comparative case study found that two types of clinics, medical and mental health clinics, may want to include a digital health-based app (e.g., cliexa-OPTIONS) as part of their screening process. Results found that the average time to complete the screening was between 2.75- 4.26 minutes. Spending a few extra minutes prior to the appointment has big dividends for enhancing patient/client care.


One clinician at a rural Title X Family Planning Clinic discovered that a teenage female patient had contact with an individual who had syphilis. The patient indicated that being able to express that sensitive information initially on an iPad made it so much easier for her to talk about it later in the appointment. The patient felt comfortable in a way she would not have felt otherwise. This was a common thread for all the teenage patients seen at the clinic; they were more comfortable expressing their fears or problems using the iPad than they would have using a face-to-face interview.


Preliminary independent evaluation results are promising. While the two sites serve distinct populations and have different focus areas, they emphasize helping adolescents and young adults make healthy, informed, and positive decisions about their lives, including their sexual behaviors. The cliexa-OPTIONS digital sexual risk assessment app appears to have been successful at each of these sites by helping clinicians open up critical conversations with patients/clients by providing avenues for improving the quality of care they receive. Furthermore, patients appear to enjoy using the digital app and find it easy to use. Patients from both clinics reported high levels of satisfaction using the app and strongly agreed with the statement, “I would use cliexa services again.”


cliexa’s digital screening tools instantly flag risky sexual behaviors in adolescents beyond the traditional face-to-face assessment process. The findings suggest the application facilitates detailed information about risky sexual behavior, allowing providers to tailor questions appropriately, focusing brief clinical interventions on the most pertinent information, saving time increasing care and efficiency. 


By Q4 of 2022, the final results of this independent evaluation of cliexa-OPTIONS will be complete. Independent evaluation results for the quad aims of patient and clinician satisfaction, reduced cost, and improved outcomes will be an essential step to improve health care in the United States.


To read the full study, click here.






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