Paolo Fusar-Poli, Dominic Oliver, Giulia Spada, Rashmi Patel, Robert Stewart, Richard Dobson and Philip McGuire

Frontiers in Psychiatry (2019) 10: 109


Background Primary indicated prevention in individuals at-risk for psychosis has the potential to improve the outcomes of this disorder. The ability to detect the majority of at-risk individuals is the main barrier toward extending benefits for the lives of many adolescents and young adults. Current detection strategies are highly inefficient. Only 5% (standalone specialized early detection services) to 12% (youth mental health services) of individuals who will develop a first psychotic disorder can be detected at the time of their at-risk stage. To overcome these challenges a pragmatic, clinically-based, individualized, transdiagnostic risk calculator has been developed to detect individuals at-risk of psychosis in secondary mental health care at scale. This calculator has been externally validated and has demonstrated good prognostic performance. However, it is not known whether it can be used in the real world clinical routine. For example, clinicians may not be willing to adhere to the recommendations made by the transdiagnostic risk calculator. Implementation studies are needed to address pragmatic challenges relating to the real world use of the transdiagnostic risk calculator. The aim of the current study is to provide in-vitro and in-vivo feasibility data to support the implementation of the transdiagnostic risk calculator in clinical routine.

Method This is a study which comprises of two subsequent phases: an in-vitro phase of 1 month and an in-vivo phase of 11 months. The in-vitro phase aims at developing and integrating the transdiagnostic risk calculator in the local electronic health register (primary outcome). The in-vivo phase aims at addressing the clinicians’ adherence to the recommendations made by the transdiagnostic risk calculator (primary outcome) and other secondary feasibility parameters that are necessary to estimate the resources needed for its implementation.

Discussion This is the first implementation study for risk prediction models in individuals at-risk for psychosis. Ultimately, successful implementation is the true measure of a prediction model’s utility. Therefore, the overall translational deliverable of the current study would be to extend the benefits of primary indicated prevention and improve outcomes of first episode psychosis. This may produce significant social benefits for many adolescents and young adults and their families.