Coordinating Behavioral Healthcare for a Healthier America

Coordinating Behavioral Healthcare for a Healthier America

Uncoordinated behavioral healthcare has cost America money, and more importantly, lives, for far too long. Today, we’re working to fix it.

Seemingly forever, patients’ medical records have been scattered about, first in paper files on office shelves and now on servers in data centers. To get one record from here to there—and to get it in the hands of the right clinician at the right time—has been a logistical nightmare. Picture a long chain, but with a missing link.

Today, this problem translates to an array of measurable issues for all of healthcare, two of which are most crippling: high, often unnecessary costs and compromised care. These issues are a direct result of primary care physicians (PCPs), specialists, and other care team members, along with insurers, being unaware of their patients’ whereabouts on the care continuum—particularly, the behavioral care continuum—and unable to effectively manage their care.

To illustrate the magnitude of the cost issue, the Journal of the American Medical Association, or JAMA, estimates that the “total annual costs of waste were $760 billion to $935 billion” in one year. That’s nearly one trillion dollars in unnecessary care, or nearly one quarter of the total annual healthcare spend in America. This plagues patients and their insurers and hinders value-based care efforts.

As for compromised care, consider the high utilizer who repeatedly visits the emergency department (ED), or the individual with a behavioral health disorder who is admitted to a treatment facility, both without their PCP’s knowledge. This leads to less communication between their PCPs and specialists, which can result in inefficient administration of medication, procedures, and tests, a lack of timely follow-ups, and even harm.

State health departments, health information exchanges, and other entities have long worked to consolidate, secure, and share relevant patient information on a large scale. While they have certainly made progress and will continue to play a major role moving forward, they operate in a somewhat fragmented environment and don’t necessarily foster communication among providers and between payers and providers. In addition, behavioral health and crisis event data remain siloed at a time when access to such data is more important than ever amid a worsening opioid epidemic.

recent study on healthcare coordination conducted by researchers from the Commonwealth Fund highlighted this problem. “Compared to physicians in other countries… U.S. physicians did not routinely receive timely notification or the information needed for managing ongoing care from specialists, after-hours care centers, EDs, or hospitals.” Furthermore, “Ensuring the continuity of care delivered in settings outside the four walls of a primary care practice, but with the involvement of primary care through timely information exchange, is a central prerequisite for coordination.”

This is precisely why Appriss Health + PatientPing became Bamboo Health. We combined a company defined by data and analytics and another defined by real-time information sharing for the improvement of care coordination.

“We have created one of the largest and most diverse care collaboration networks in the country, connecting nearly one million healthcare professionals in all 50 states and virtually all care settings including primary and specialty care, emergency departments, urgent cares, inpatient facilities, skilled nursing facilities, post-acute facilities, behavioral health treatment centers, pharmacies, home health agencies, state health agencies, and social and human service agencies, among others,” said Rob Cohen, Bamboo Health’s President and General Manager. “Our powerful network serves the largest hospital systems in the U.S., 45 state governments, every national pharmacy chain, 37 payers including the top eight health plans, and 7,800 post-acute facilities.”

As Rob alluded to, we’re here to coordinate behavioral healthcare by growing one network on one platform. By connecting PCPs with specialists, payers with providers, and behavioral health with physical health. By fostering communication with data, analytics, and real-time alerts. And by keeping the patient at the center. It’s coordinated care that can reduce costs and save lives.

We’re the missing link in the chain. And we’re just getting started.