Although adoption of value-based care models has been slower than some experts predicted, it’s inevitable that health systems will develop or expand their value-based care strategy in the coming years. Several factors are driving this shift, two of which this blog will highlight. First, over half of hospitals anticipate negative margins by the end of 2022 due to lower utilization, which may spur movement away from fee-for-service models. Second, experts predict over 50% of Medicare members will enroll in Medicare Advantage plans in 2023, one of the most popular value-based care arrangements.
As demand for value-based care rises, health systems must find new ways to lower total cost of care and improve clinical outcomes. To that end, a critical component of health systems’ value-based care strategy must be behavioral health integration (BHI). Mental health conditions, like depression or anxiety, increase cost of care exponentially and hamper positive physical health outcomes. The case for making BHI a part of a value-based care strategy is clear:
- Roughly 90% of the nation’s $3.5T annual healthcare budget is for those with comorbid chronic physical and mental conditions.
- Integrated behavioral health models reduce the overall cost of care, ranging from 5%-10% of total healthcare costs.
- Health systems can save $3,300 per patient over two years for depression treatment in primary care
How BHI enhances a Value-Based Care Strategy
To achieve these savings and improved outcomes, many health systems are turning to BHI technologies that can facilitate care team collaboration, screen patients remotely, and surface key insights to guide measurement-based care. Rather than waiting for patients to present in crisis at an emergency department, health systems can engage, track, and risk stratify their populations to intervene before patients require more extreme or costly services.
Here’s a look at how BHI technologies deliver results that create successful, sustainable approaches to support a value-based care strategy:
Decreased Costs of Care
Embedding behavioral health into physical medicine—especially when it comes to expensive chronic conditions—can drive down costs by presenting a full picture of patients’ biopsychosocial conditions and needs. In fact, a Milliman study shows up to 17% reduction in annual total costs in chronic condition populations for organizations effectively implementing BHI.
Patient screening and risk stratification tools enable providers to not only capture insights on patients’ behavioral health, but also stratify patients to identify those most at risk. The ability to intervene and proactively identify individuals with rising levels of risk before they present to the ED or other high-cost setting results in significantly improved financial outcomes. Health systems using a BHI tool with risk stratification capabilities like NeuroFlow have seen a 34% reduction in ED visits – a stat with tangible benefits in a value-based care arrangement.
Improved Patient Outcomes
Beyond the clear positive outcomes associated with keeping rising-risk individuals out of emergency situations, a hospital can address the physical, mental, and emotional needs of its patients, which can lead to better overall health and well-being, by properly leveraging BHI solutions.
For example, BHI tools like NeuroFlow facilitate remote assessments like the PHQ-9, which a patient can complete whenever it’s convenient—not just when they’re in their provider’s office. The virtual format increases the likelihood of engagement and volume of screenings completed, while also likely increasing the authenticity of the results as patients feel more comfortable giving honest answers in their own environment.
Higher volumes of accurate behavioral health insights lead to more opportunity for intervention, and the ability to get patients to the right level of care more quickly.
Enhanced Clinical Efficiencies
Helping all providers work top-of-license creates efficiency and leads to a more satisfying clinician experience. With BHI technologies, primary care providers aren’t asked to practice complex behavioral health care – just to assess their patients’ need for it.
BHI solutions can give providers confidence to treat low-acuity behavioral health conditions that they may not be accustomed to treating. With a team-based approach to care integration, a team of specialists stands ready to support providers and can do so more easily due to regular screening and greater insight into patient well-being. Behavioral health specialists can then devote their time to those patients who really need their expertise. All along the way, BHI technologies let providers follow evidence-based protocols and efficiently track results.
A Comprehensive Value-Based Care Strategy Needs the Right BHI Solutions
Every healthcare organization must find its own unique path to value-based care, and successful implementation will almost always entail a phased approach. To start, providers must recognize how a comprehensive BHI program can improve risk management, directly impact clinical outcomes, and accelerate the journey toward value-based care. No matter where an organization starts on the path towards value-based care, complementary BHI solutions can be layered and adjusted to meet shared goals of the patient and clinicians.
For hospitals and health systems interested in learning more about NeuroFlow the benefits of BHI, click here