A service contact must involve at least two persons, one of whom must be a specialised mental health service provider.
Mobile and outreach services and consultation and liaison services are included as service contacts.
Service contacts are not restricted to in person communication but can include telephone, video link or other forms of direct communication.
Service contacts can either be with a patient/client, or with a third party such as a carer or family member, other professional or mental health worker or other service provider. Services involving only a service provider and a third party(ies) are included as service contacts, where the nature of the service would normally warrant a dated entry in the clinical record of the patient/client in question.
Handover activity is the transfer of professional responsibility for a client to another professional. Where handover activity has occurred, and it meets the definition of a service contact, it is in scope for collection (ACSQHC, 2019).
A service contact should be recorded for each patient/client for which the service is provided, regardless of the number of patients/clients or third parties participating.
There may be multiple service contacts on any one day for a patient/client, including contacts involving third parties. If multiple mental health service providers deliver a service contact to the same client concurrently a single service contact should be recorded. If multiple mental health service providers deliver a service contact to the same client sequentially, a service contact should be recorded for each mental health service provider.
Service contacts provided by all staff employed by a specialised mental health service organisation, including non-clinical staff, are considered in scope for collection provided the nature of the service contact meets the definition.
Service provision is only regarded as a service contact if it is relevant to the clinical condition of the patient/client. This means that it does not include services of an administrative nature (e.g. telephone contact to schedule an appointment) except where the nature of the service would normally warrant a dated entry in the clinical record of the patient/client in question.
There may however be instances where notes are made in the patient/client clinical record that have not been prompted by a service provision for a patient/client. Examples include noting receipt of test results that require no further action and noting a patient/client did not attend a planned service contact. These instances would not be regarded as service contacts.
In instances where documenting the patient/client’s service contact details is separated in time from the service provision, the documenting of the contact details is not counted as a separate service contact.
Travel to or from the location at which the service is provided, for example to or from outreach facilities or private homes, is not to be reported as a service contact.