A significant body of research supports the benefits of integrating behavioral health into physical health care. Nevertheless, it can be challenging to launch and expand integrated behavioral health programs. Navigating upfront costs, securing stakeholder buy-in, and executing new workflows can make it difficult to achieve positive financial and clinical outcomes in a timely manner, and given the current economic climate, it’s more important than ever for healthcare organizations to recognize ROI quickly.
Without scale, it’s difficult to achieve the efficiency needed to realize these goals. Yet new innovations are making it easier to overcome common challenges and amplify program success in achieving the Quintuple Aim.
That’s why NeuroFlow is launching our Amplifying Success series where we’ll explore how technology can accelerate integrated behavioral health programs and help healthcare organizations achieve all five aims.
In this first installment of the series, we’ll discuss how technology can play a role in helping healthcare organizations achieve each aim, and in upcoming installments we’ll explore individual aims in-depth and share success stories and best practices from our partners who have launched and scaled sustainable integrated behavioral health programs.
Improving Clinical Outcomes
In order to affect whole-person care, it is essential to recognize the relationship between physical health and behavioral health. People living with chronic physical health conditions experience depression or anxiety at twice the rate of the general population. By identifying and addressing underlying behavioral health conditions, healthcare organizations can help patients better manage their physical health and improve outcomes overall.
One of the most important ways to establish a successful integrated behavioral health program is to demonstrate a positive impact on individuals’ holistic wellbeing. To track this, healthcare organizations must establish measurement-based care for behavioral health through the regular delivery of behavioral health assessments such as the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) or the Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 rating scale (GAD-7) to populations. Clinical assessments like these help care teams identify individuals who would benefit from an integrated care program, evaluate patient improvement, and track wellbeing over time.
Technology can ease the burden of healthcare organizations and deliver screenings at scale. Regular, remote screening allows care teams to gain insight into patient wellbeing in between appointments—a critical period when sudden declines in behavioral health might be lost or overlooked. Establishing patients’ wellbeing baseline also helps care teams deliver more effective care during in-person appointments, alleviating the need for manual administration and allowing more time for intervention and care.
Maximizing Patient Experience
Engagement is an important component of driving positive patient experiences. Care teams can further engage patients enrolled in an integrated behavioral health program by providing a digital experience that reinforces the support care managers provide. For example, NeuroFlow offers a wide range of behavioral health journeys through our app experience, ranging from practicing mindfulness to coping with depression. Care team members can assign relevant digital content to patients that aligns with in-person treatment and track patient activity. This allows care teams to more effectively support patients remotely and provide more targeted support during in-person visits based on the activities patients complete.
This approach allows patients to take a more active role in their behavioral health care. Plus, having 24/7 access to behavioral health resources significantly boosts patient satisfaction—90% of NeuroFlow users would recommend the app to a friend.
Increasing Provider Satisfaction
Integrated behavioral health programs cannot succeed without earning provider buy-in. Providers, particularly primary care providers, face high rates of burnout due to the large number of patients they must manage, and the increasing complexity of their patient panels. If an integrated behavioral health program adds additional burden to the providers’ workload, it will struggle with adoption and scale.
Instead, new workflows and technologies must make providers’ jobs easier in order to encourage widespread adoption. Technology must integrate into existing workflows and EHRs and provide clinical decision support so that providers can easily adjust treatment and connect patients with the appropriate level of care.
Technology can also enable greater collaboration across care teams. Integrated care models develop interdisciplinary teams, allowing providers to focus on their patients’ physical health, knowing that trusted team members are managing patients’ behavioral health needs. Shared decision making limits the burden placed on providers and increases provider satisfaction.
Achieving Financial Sustainability
Integrated behavioral health programs are proven to lower healthcare costs and can contribute additional revenue through the use of behavioral health CPT codes or value-based arrangements. The combination of cost savings and revenue generation allows healthcare organizations to develop financially sustainable integrated behavioral health programs. Technology amplifies these efforts by helping providers support a larger population through patient registries, billable remote screenings, and digital resources. In addition, technology can facilitate care team collaboration, helping providers work more efficiently and coordinate care for higher acuity patients.
With the ability to engage a larger population and identify behavioral health needs earlier, healthcare organizations can significantly reduce costs. Proactively supporting behavioral health creates a ripple effect of benefits, leading to healthier and low-utilizing patients.
Advancing Health Equity
Increasingly, researchers are finding that social needs are a far greater indicator of health than the delivery of health care services. People who don’t have access to healthy food, lack safe housing, or have limited financial opportunities are more likely to develop both behavioral and physical health conditions. Having a way to easily screen for social determinants of health (SDoH) and connect individuals to programs and resources is critical to addressing these issues. Technology can play a role in delivering screenings, risk stratifying a population, and referring individuals to the appropriate resources, making healthcare more accessible to all.
Interested in learning more about how NeuroFlow supports the Quintuple Aim and integrated behavioral health programs? Schedule a demo of our solutions today.