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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Dilemma 7: An Invitation to Assess

You are checking your email after a busy day. The following email catches your attention.

From: PsychBuilder – High Tech Psychology at Low Cost
Sent: Monday, November 10, 2011 6:37 PM
Subject: Online Assessment Tool to Promote your Practice

Dear Psychologist,

My name is Dr. Rob West, President and CEO of PsychBuilder Inc. located in San Jose, California. My company has developed a unique opportunity for you and your associates. PsychBuilder Inc. developed the first internet-based administration and scoring of the Personality Assessment Symptom Scale-2, the PASS-2. Psychologists have used the PASS-2 for psychological diagnoses and evaluations for a number of years. The PASS-2 is administered online, from any computer, iPad, or iPhone connected to the internet. The test usually takes approximately 40 to 60 minutes to administer. Results will be available to you and the patient online.

Important to an entrepreneurial psychologist like you, this assessment bridges the gap between psychology and primary care. Numerous patients from family practice offices can be given the internet link (http://www.psychbuilder.org/) and a security code to complete the PASS-2. The test is designed to determine if the patient can benefit from psychotherapy, psychotropic agents, or other psychological services. While it is not a complete assessment, it can guide patients to you for further psychological consultation.

After a patient completes the assessment, an email will be sent to you (based on the security code) and the patient within 24 hours, providing a secure link to review the results of the PASS-2. Patient contact information will be part of the administration process.

The cost of the online administration is $25, to be paid by the patient. For this to be a successful venture, we ask you to promote this program to your referring physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants in order to enhance their ability to identify, evaluate and provide needed treatment for their patients.

We have great data on the PASS-2 for reliability and validity in identifying primary care patients who can benefit from psychological services. Unfortunately, many patients struggling with mental health issues in primary care settings are not properly identified or treated.

Because of busy primary care practices, the PASS-2 can be completed at home, if the office does not have internet access for patient use.

The physician, nurse practitioner, or physician’s assistant will offer patients this important opportunity via a specially designed 4 x 6 card. On that card, there will be information that explains the importance of completing this assessment, the cost, and that a licensed psychologist will review the results and contact the patient by phone within 3 to 5 business days.

An important factor is that there is no cost to you, as the psychologist. You will receive a high quality report that offers diagnostic possibilities, suicide potential, and treatment planning options for new patients.

I encourage you to review our web site at http://www.psychbuilder.com/. If you have further questions, feel free to contact me.


Robert West, PhD, ABPP


What are potential ethical issues with this invitation?

What clinical concerns arise for you in this scenario?

What should you do with this email solicitation?

What would you likely do with this email solicitation?