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CHESS: a computer-based system for providing information, referrals, decision support and social support to people facing medical and other health-related crises.

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Center for Health Systems Research and Analysis, University of Wisconsin, Madison.


CHESS (the Comprehensive Health Enhancement Support System) is an interactive, computer-based system to support people facing health-related crises or concerns. CHESS provides information, referral to service providers, support in making tough decisions and networking to experts and others facing the same concerns. CHESS will improve access to health and human services for people who would otherwise face psychological, social, economic or geographic barriers to receiving services. CHESS has developed programs in five specific topic areas: Academic Crisis, Adult Children of Alcoholics, AIDS/HIV Infection, Breast Cancer and Sexual Assault. The lessons learned, and the structures developed, will serve as a model for future implementation of CHESS programs in a broad range of other topic areas. CHESS is designed around three major desired outcomes: 1) improving the emotional health status of users; 2) increasing the cost-effective use of health and human services; and 3) reducing the incidence of risk-taking behaviors that can lead to injury or illness. Pilot-testing and initial analysis of controlled evaluation data has shown that CHESS is extensively used, is useful and easy-to-use, and produces positive emotional outcomes. Further evaluation in continuing.

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