Pat & Deborah realized that personal appearances, lectures, training and videos can only go so far. Mental health professionals got inspired by Pat & Deborah but then returned to their jobs and quickly resumed practice-as-usual which involved:
- Working to fix diseases (mental disorders), instead of working in partnership with people to support their recovery
- Stabilization and maintenance as the goal of treatment, not recovery (i.e., a life of meaning and high purpose in the community)
- Making decisions for people, rather than supporting choice and self-determination
- Emphasizing medications above all other treatment, even if side effects are unbearable
So Pat & Deborah began to explore how to create recovery-oriented tools and technologies that train staff while they are working, and help get a message of recovery and hope to an even wider audience of peers. Also in 2005, Pat’s paper describing her Kansas research was published: The Power of Personal Medicine.
Pat & Deborah used their own money to have the CommonGround Software developed. The original version of the software was written in C+ for a local computer (i.e., no Internet). In collaboration with Charlie Rapp, Melody Reifer and the good folks at the University of Kansas School of Social Welfare, the Software was piloted in a peer-run decision support center at the Wyandot MH Center in KCKS in October of 2006. It worked. People used it and clinicians found it informative. We were amazed.
In January of 2007, Pat contracted with developers to re-write CommonGround Software via Ruby on Rails. In June, we launched the web-based version of CommonGround at the Wyandot Center in KCKS. Also in 2007, Pat received an appointment as Adjunct Professor at Dartmouth, Geisel School of Medicine. Collaboration on shared decision making accelerated and publications continued. In addition, PDA signed its first large contract with Community Care Behavioral Health Organization, a forward-looking managed care organization in PA affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC). CommonGround experienced its greatest growth in partnership with Community Care.
The second CommonGround Software site in the nation was launched under Community Care Behavioral Health. Others were added and PDA concentrated efforts on how to scale and streamline implementation. PDA sold a license to develop CommonGround Software as an offering with New York State Office of Mental Health's PSYCKES platform. It added 10 new sites using Software in New York State.