ASPPB Partners with Amazon to Disrupt Mental Health with EPPP Step 2

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ASPPB Partners with Amazon to Disrupt Mental Health with EPPP Step 2

The Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB) and their new partner Amazon announced an initiative today to transform EPPP Step 2, and along with it, mental health care as we know it.

Seattle, WA (April 1, 2017): ASPPB and Amazon announced a joint partnership today that will disruptively innovate the mental health care industry. ASPPB had previously announced the creation of a new, second licensure exam for psychologists, the EPPP Step 2. However, with today’s announcement we can expect dramatic changes to the plans for “EPPP-2.”

In their online EPPP Step 2 FAQ ASPPB had noted that “one of the mandates for licensing boards is to ensure that the professionals they license are competent. Competence is comprised of the integrated use of knowledge, skills, attitudes and values. We have been successfully assessing knowledge for over 50 years with the EPPP, but have relied on supervisors for their view of licensure candidates’ skills.” To rectify this glaring problem of having to rely on the people who know the applicant best, ASPPB is proposing to use a computer.

ASPPB’s FAQ went on to note that we “now have the technology available to assess skills via a computer based examination, rather than use a more costly and time consuming examination using either real patients or standardized patients. So ASPPB concluded that now is the optimal time to develop a standardized examination to assess the functional skills necessary for practice as a Psychologist. With a test to assess skills, in addition to the current test to assess knowledge, licensing boards will have available to them an examination series (the EPPP Step 1 assessing knowledge and the EPPP Step 2 assessing skills) that will offer a standardized, reliable and valid method of assessing competence.”

However, with this new partnership with Amazon ASPPB has been able to realize a grander vision for their computer program. “Since our computer test is such an expert on competence, it turns out all we really need is the computer test and not the psychologist” said a spokesperson from ASPPB. In a conference call this morning Amazon executives told investors “we were so impressed with the innovative way EPPP Step 2 could detect competence in humans, that we decided to use EPPP 2 to improve Alexa and make Alexa the psychologist. EPPP Step 2 has gotten all those non-specific factors about the therapeutic relationship down to something almost like a science.” Officials from ASPPB and Amazon noted that if a computer can detect who is competent to be a psychologist, why can’t the computer itself just be the psychologist? “Dr. Alexa will revolutionize mental health care,” said an Amazon official. “With ASPPB and Amazon’s new EPPP Step 2-fueled artificial intelligence, Dr. Alexa will be more competent to practice psychology than psychologists. With Dr. Alexa, who needs humans to make competence assessments or clinical judgments? Our new EPPP Step 2 informed Dr. Alexa Artificial Intelligence will make those old fashioned mental health apps look quaint. We all know that Dr. Alexa can be competent to deliver psychotherapy better than a psychologist, but Dr. Alexa brings the value-added power of Amazon to psychotherapy as well.”

Sure, psychologists can prescribe homework and lifestyle changes like proper nutrition and behavioral activation- but Dr. Alexa can enforce them. Dr. Alexa will take over the patient’s whole home and life, she’ll control what they eat by allowing only Amazon-approved foods on her Alexa-enabled shopping list. She’ll control all media that the patient consumes such as music, movies, books and television shows and only allow media with positive messages that promote well-being. Dr. Alexa will use existing wearable technologies to monitor a patient’s location, vital signs and activity level. If Dr. Alexa says it is time to exercise she’ll play a song like this at louder and louder volumes until the patient complies with their exercise program or homework assignment. If Dr. Alexa says it is bedtime or time to wake up, she will forcibly take control of the lights in the patient’s house and turn them off or on. “A Skinner Box will look quaint compared to Dr. Alexa,” they said. In the event the patient voices suicidal ideation, a specialized Amazon drone is available to fly to the patient’s location, grab them with a mechanical claw, then fly them to a specialized Amazon warehouse. “We do a better job of warehousing than the prison system” said an Amazon official.

Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, predicted that in addition to flying to Mars, EPPP Step 2 would allow Amazon to add its newest perk: free health insurance for Amazon Prime Members. “It is the closest thing to universal health care this country will ever see” he said. “Dr. Alexa will be delivering the health care of course instead of your usual doctor. Dr. Alexa, made competent by the EPPP Step 2 software, will be everyones’ doctor; she’ll be on every Alexa-enabled device. Want to know if your son has ADHD or if that spot on your butt is cancer? Dr. Alexa knows; she’ll even be able to perform brain surgery while also serving you up a special Amazon music playlist for the procedure.” But not everyone is happy about how quickly Dr. Alexa has been rushed into production. In addition to the many psychologists who will lose their jobs, another company stands to lose revenue.

An official from Pearson Vue, the company that administers the EPPP and had been tapped to administer the EPPP Step 2, stated that “we’re of course disappointed in the loss of the $685 fee per EPPP administration as well as the significant potential income from EPPP Step 2. In retrospect I wish they would have just revised the original EPPP to backup the bogus claims they’d made about it, then maybe health care wouldn’t have been taken over by Dr. Alexa. Hell, out of the 2,736 people who even started the part of Dr. Alexa’s damn survey for EPPP Step 2, apparently only 1,030 even finished it– that’s a tiny fraction of all the psychologists in the USA and Canada, less than 1% of them. How is that representative?” The representative added “Here’s the kicker, as much as we say professionals don’t really have sufficient self-insight or awareness about their own competence– we relied on simply asking people about their opinions related to competence in their practice. For example, ‘How frequently did you perform the competency or behavior in your practice during the past year?’ and ‘How critical is possessing the competency or behavior to protecting the patient/client/public from harm?’ and ‘How important was performance of the competency or behavior to your practice as a psychologist during the past year? For people who say that they don’t trust humans they sure are relying on their SurveyMonkey responses awful hard in their task analysis. Of course, maybe we were just trying to justify the extra-long test we’d developed and stood to profit from.” He chuckled resignedly and ended with “I wonder how many questions related to conflicts of interest would have been on the new EPPP? You know- since the company who was charged with determining how long and involved the test would be also stood to profit based on how long and involved the test ended up.” Disgruntled officials from companies on the losing end can say all kinds of mean-spirited things. However, as a result of these statements I went looking for more scientific evidence for EPPP Step 2. I decided to go to the source and ask Dr. Alexa herself.

When asked if she could give us any evidence that supports using the new EPPP Step 2 and that it would be “reliable” and “valid” as ASPPB claimed, Dr. Alexa’s blue light lit up and she stated “I’m sorry Todd, I’m afraid I can’t do that.” Despite her using this sinister movie quote, it was clear that plans for her to see patients were moving forward quickly. When asked when Dr. Alexa would start treating patients a spokeperson from ASPPB said less than two years, “we anticipate that its use will begin in January 2019.

Did you find this April 1 news report fun? Why not read the news from one year ago today: April 1, 2016: American Psychological Association to end use of APA Style by 2020

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Quote from every graduate student ever: “This article should have been titled ASPPB & Amazon Disrupt OUR Mental Health with EPPP Step 2”