Some helpful documents for understanding the development and status of GRiST

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GRiST team

This GRiST crib sheet is a very quick reminder of how to use GRiST for those people who have already read and assimilated the longer manual. The latter should be read first, please.

GRiST team

Handbook for mental health practitioners that explains how GRiST supports the process of evaluating risks and managing them.


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GRiST team

This document gives more details about how GRiST can be used to support risk formulations that link assessments to management plans. Note that we have updated the interface to make the risk-formulation elements easier to use but the general idea behind them is the same.

GRiST Team

A description of the main features of GRiST and how it can help organisations and individuals identify and manage mental health issues.

Patient Education and Counseling

Objectives: To develop a decision support system (DSS), myGRaCE, that integrates service user (SU) and practitioner expertise about mental health and associated risks of suicide, self-harm, harm to others, self- neglect, and vulnerability. The intention is to help SUs assess and manage their own mental health collaboratively with practitioners.

Methods: An iterative process involving interviews, focus groups, and agile software development with 115 SUs, to elicit and implement myGRaCE requirements.

Results: Findings highlight shared understanding of mental health risk between SUs and practitioners that can be integrated within a single model. However, important differences were revealed in SUs’ preferred process of assessing risks and safety, which are reflected in the distinctive interface, navigation, tool functionality and language developed for myGRaCE. A challenge was how to provide flexible access without overwhelming and confusing users.

Conclusion: The methods show that practitioner expertise can be reformulated in a format that simultaneously captures SU expertise, to provide a tool highly valued by SUs. A stepped process adds necessary structure to the assessment, each step with its own feedback and guidance.  Practice Implications: The GRiST web-based DSS ( links and integrates myGRaCE self- assessments with GRiST practitioner assessments for supporting collaborative and self-managed healthcare.


IEEE Xplore

Clinical Decision Support Systems (CDSSs) need to disseminate expertise in formats that suit different end users and with functionality tuned to the context of assessment. This paper reports research into a method for designing and implementing knowledge structures that facilitate the required flexibility. A psychological model of expertise is represented using a series of formally specified and linked XML trees that capture increasing elements of the model, starting with hierarchical structuring, incorporating reasoning with uncertainty, and ending with deliv- ering the final CDSS. The method was applied to the Galatean Risk and Safety Tool, GRiST, which is a web-based clinical decision support system ( for assessing mental- health risks. Results of its clinical implementation demonstrate that the method can produce a system that is able to deliver expertise targetted and formatted for specific patient groups, different clinical disciplines, and alternative assessment settings. The approach may be useful for developing other real-world systems using human expertise and is currently being applied to a logistics domain.

Journal of Mental Health
Background: Research into mental-health risks has tended to focus on epidemiological approaches and to consider pieces of evidence in isolation. Less is known about the particular factors and their patterns of occurrence that influence clinicians’ risk judgements in practice.
Aims: To identify the cues used by clinicians to make risk judgements and to explore how these combine within clinicians’ psychological representations of suicide, self-harm, self-neglect, and harm to others.
Method: Content analysis was applied to semi-structured interviews conducted with 46 practitioners from various mental-health disciplines, using mind maps to represent the hierarchical relationships of data and concepts.
Results: Strong consensus between experts meant their knowledge could be integrated into a single hierarchical structure for each risk. This revealed contrasting emphases between data and concepts underpinning risks, including: reflection and forethought for suicide; motivation for self-harm;
situation and context for harm to others; and current presentation for self-neglect.
Conclusions: Analysis of experts’ risk-assessment knowledge identified influential cues and their relationships to risks. It can inform development of valid risk-screening decision support systems that combine actuarial evidence with clinical expertise.
Declaration of interest: This research was funded by a NHS NEAT grant.
Medical Informatics & The Internet in Medicine

Current tools for assessing risks associated with mental-health problems require assessors to make highlevel judgements based on clinical experience. This paper describes how new technologies can enhance qualitative research methods to identify lower-level cues underlying these judgements, which can be collected by people without a specialist mental-health background. Content analysis of interviews with 46 multidisciplinary mental-health experts exposed the cues and their interrelationships, which were represented by a mind map using software that stores maps as XML. All 46 mind maps were integrated into a single XML knowledge structure and analysed by a Lisp program to generate quantitative information about the numbers of experts associated with each part of it. The knowledge was refined by the experts, using software developed in Flash to record their collective views within the XML itself. These views specified how the XML should be transformed by XSLT, a technology for rendering XML, which resulted in a validated hierarchical knowledge structure associating patient cues with risks. Changing knowledge elicitation requirements were accommodated by flexible transformations of XML data using XSLT, which also facilitated generation of multiple data-gathering tools suiting different assessment circumstances and levels of mental-health knowledge.

Medical Informatics and the Internet in Medicine

Effective clinical decision making depends upon identifying possible outcomes for a patient, selecting relevant cues, and processing the cues to arrive at accurate judgements of each outcome’s probability of occurrence. These activities can be considered as classification tasks. This paper describes a new model of psychological classification that explains how people use cues to determine class or outcome likelihoods. It proposes that clinicians respond to conditional probabilities of outcomes given cues and that these probabilities compete with each other for influence on classification. The model explains why people appear to respond to base rates inappropriately, thereby overestimating the occurrence of rare categories, and a clinical example is provided for predicting suicide risk. The model makes an effective representation for expert clinical judgements and its psychological validity enables it to generate explanations in a form that is comprehensible to clinicians. It is a strong candidate for incorporation within a decision support system for mental-health risk assessment, where it can link with statistical and pattern recognition tools applied to a database of patients. The symbiotic combination of empirical evidence and clinical expertise can provide an important web-based resource for risk assessment, including multi-disciplinary education and training.