A series on addressing chronic conditions through mental health care to improve outcomes and the bottom line
Heart disease affects 48% of all U.S. adults and costs the U.S. about $219 billion each year. These numbers are astounding by themselves. However, when you take into account the prevalence and impact of behavioral health conditions in heart disease patients, it’s clear that addressing the physical aspects of the condition simply isn’t enough. Consider the following:
- At least 25% of cardiac patients suffer from depression. Depression can lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as smoking and alcohol abuse, and can cause more strain on the body.
- Anxiety can cause individuals with heart disease to struggle with necessary lifestyle improvements, such as exercising and eating a healthy diet, which could significantly improve their condition.
- The aftereffects of a heart attack can be similar to PTSD, causing affected individuals to avoid certain activities and battle repetitive and debilitating thoughts.
Addressing the Revolving Door of Costs and Poor Outcomes
When individuals experience a decline in their physical and mental health, costs rise, and physical conditions lead to expensive surgeries and hospitalizations. (The average cost per hospitalized chronic heart failure patient is $7,863 in a six-month period.)
The good news is that while the comorbidity of heart disease and behavioral health conditions is common, it doesn’t mean positive outcomes are out of the picture. Proper behavioral health integration can empower proactive, measurement-based, self-care designed to lower costs. By equipping members with tools to self-manage their behavioral health conditions associated with heart disease, health plans can keep costs under control and support healthier outcomes.
In 2018, 13.4% of death certificates indicated heart failure as a cause or contributor of death. We can lower this number and prevent conditions from becoming life-threatening by addressing both the physical and behavioral concerns associated with heart disease.
Bridging the Gap with Digital Tools
At NeuroFlow, we’re committed to bridging the divide between mental and physical health. We believe no individual should face their health concerns in isolation, and we’ve seen firsthand with our partner organizations how engagement with personalized resources and tools increases measurement and improves outcomes. If you’re interested to learn more, visit our website to get a closer look at our technology-enabled solutions for health plan members.
This blog is a part of an ongoing series breaking down common chronic conditions and the relationship between behavioral health and overall health and outcomes.