4 Capabilities Health Systems Need to Accelerate the Impact of Integrated Behavioral Health at Scale

The Collaborative Care Model (CoCM) is designed to improve patient wellbeing and expand access to behavioral healthcare by placing behavioral health professionals inside traditional care settings like primary care. This holistic, team-based approach is proven by dozens of peer-reviewed studies to improve clinical outcomes. Unfortunately, since its founding 30 years ago, adoption of CoCM, and integrated care models more generally, has been slow. Common challenges have included slow program ramp-up, a lack of financial sustainability, and an inability to scale a standardized program that providers embrace.

In the decades since CoCM was founded, technology has completely reshaped the way we live and work, with innovations like high-speed internet, the rise of the smartphone, and the emergence of artificial intelligence. These same innovations should be part of patient care through integrated behavioral health models and can rapidly expand their adoption. Technology can help care organizations proactively identify large swaths of their population that need support, deliver preventative digital care to prevent further escalation, and efficiently refer higher acuity patients into CoCM.

NeuroFlow describes this tech-enabled approach as CoCM 2.0, which elevates CoCM (and other integrated behavioral health models) to proactively meet the needs of more patients, driving better clinical outcomes, provider satisfaction, and financial sustainability. NeuroFlow’s approach incorporates four key pillars:

Whole Population Screening & Care

In order to maximize integrated behavioral health programs like CoCM, healthcare organizations need to understand who would most benefit from these programs in their population. Using technology that enables whole population screening removes the burden of in-person assessments and increases the frequency of screening, better tracking patients’ wellbeing overtime.

With more insight into population behavioral health, providers can stratify their population, engaging lower acuity patients in digital self-care content to maintain their behavioral health, while higher acuity patients can access self-guided digital cognitive behavioral therapy (DCBT) or enroll in CoCM. Understanding population needs empowers healthcare organizations to better utilize their resources and invest in the tools and programs that will make the greatest impact. 

Registry Purpose-Built for CoCM Workflows

While not the only technology investment health systems should make to deliver CoCM, the patient registry is still a critical component of this model. The registry allows care managers and providers to collaborate more efficiently, track patient progress, and prioritize the case load. The technology can be further enhanced with built-in clinical decision support and timely alerts that track changes in patient wellbeing. A leading registry must also integrate seamlessly into existing workflows, and in particular, the data must integrate directly into providers’ EHR. 

CoCM Digital Care Companion

While patients are enrolled in CoCM, technology can further enhance the experience by delivering relevant digital resources that reinforce the sessions patients have with their care manager or therapist. Having a digital care companion encourages patients to continue the work of CoCM on their own, leading to greater program adherence.

This added support helps patients get better faster, allowing providers and care managers to support a much larger patient population. For example, on average NeuroFlow increases care manager capacity by 36-40% thanks to more efficient caseload management and patient engagement in between appointments.

Post Graduation Monitoring

While integrated care programs like CoCM are intended to help patients recover quickly, supporting them over a period of months, behavioral health is dynamic. Patients who graduate from CoCM may face unexpected life changes that lead to a decline in wellbeing, which if left untreated, can lead to costly utilization like an emergency department visit or hospitalization. Ongoing monitoring through an engagement platform can easily identify patients who are at risk and automatically intervene with relevant resources or in-person interventions. 

Technology provides the continuity of care that keeps patients engaged in managing their behavioral health in an ongoing way and closely connected to their providers if and when they need greater support. That continuity makes a huge impact on wellbeing. NeuroFlow conducted a study that compared different cohorts of patients enrolled in various forms of integrated care. Some cohorts had access to NeuroFlow, while others did not. Patients enrolled in CoCM with NeuroFlow’s digital solution achieved the greatest sustained reduction in on-average depression severity. Technology plays a critical role in delivering more effective integrated care by improving care team efficiency, enhancing patient experience, and driving more significant and lasting clinical outcomes.

Interested in learning more about the technology that supports CoCM 2.0? Check out NeuroFlow’s unique solution.

Ellen Harvey is the Senior Content Marketing Manager at NeuroFlow. She has over nine years of experience writing about technology and innovation for business leaders. At NeuroFlow, she writes about prominent trends in behavioral health and illustrates how NeuroFlow's technology helps healthcare, payor, and government organizations improve the well-being of their constituents.

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