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What is CHESS?

The Comprehensive Health Enhancement Support System (CHESS™) is a computer-based system of integrated services designed to help individuals cope with a health crisis or medical concern.

CHESS combines the best features of computers and human support. It:

  • Provides timely, easily accessible resources (information, social support, decision-making and problem-solving tools) when needed most.
  • Combines various services and resources into one system, meeting the needs of various coping and information-seeking styles, and making use more likely and rewarding.
  • Tailors and personalizes information and support to help users better manage their health and change behaviors that are harmful to their well-being.
  • Protects privacy, encouraging openness and honesty in dealing with health concerns.
  • Presents reliable, well-organized, detailed health information in language that is comprehensible to people at most educational levels.

How CHESS is Used

The system is accessed from the safety and privacy of a patient's home via the Internet or software installed on a personal computer. People participating in the CHESS project who do not have a computer are loaned one for up to a year. CHESS has also been installed in community centers, health centers, college dormitories and in the workplace.

CHESS is currently being used by several major health organizations in the USA and Canada. Use of CHESS has been shown to:

  • Improve patients' quality of life.
  • Reduce demands on physician time.
  • In some cases, reduce the cost of care.
  • Be used equally, although in different ways, by all types of people including women, older people, low-income people, people with less education and minorities.

Who Develops CHESS

CHESS is developed by a team of decision, information, education and communication scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Center for Health Enhancement Systems Studies. CHESS is copyrighted and licensed by the Center and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation.

View current CHESS projects

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