With the current state of behavioral health in the U.S., improved crisis response support for patients and providers is crucial. About 1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness and over 26 million individuals with a mental illness go untreated.

The demand for improved collaboration and access to care continues to grow with 988, the new three-digit dialing code for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, launching on July 16. Individuals in crisis will be able to call or text 988 to be immediately connected to trained mental health professionals at over 180 regional centers.

OpenBeds has become a technology partner for several states to ensure they are prepared for the influx of requests through the 988 system in the future.

Our Crisis Management System, a solution through OpenBeds, connects the public, crisis call center professionals, mobile crisis response teams, local law enforcement agencies, hospitals, and treatment providers in real time to help individuals get the help they need quickly. Through this solution, crisis call center professionals can see availability and exact location of local mobile crisis response teams. Crisis call center counselors and providers can also track providers’ bed and appointment inventory and response steps and time stamps of a care event.

Through OpenBeds’ Crisis Management System, crisis call center professionals can assess the risk of the patient. For mild to moderate risk patients, call center counselors can use OpenBeds to find available beds at inpatient or outpatient treatment centers.

Previous technology forced emergency department (ED) providers to bounce between several applications to manually refer patients to behavioral health treatment centers. ED providers had trouble collecting real-time bed availability information for these facilities, such as what types of services were available and if the patient would be able to get the care they needed at the treatment center. This took up valuable time that could be spent caring for the patient and transporting them to the respective treatment center.

Now, with the OpenBeds solution, this time-consuming process has been eliminated for referring providers. OpenBeds allows providers to track real-time bed availability, easily refer patients to treatment facilities, and access referral patterns. With more streamlined care coordination, ED providers can ensure their patients are receiving the best care, leading to improved patient outcomes.

If there is a serious non-life or life-threatening risk to the patient, crisis call center professionals can see the availability and exact location of mobile crisis response teams to dispatch them to the patient’s location. From there, the mobile crisis response team can assess the risk of the patient and use OpenBeds to refer them to a behavioral health treatment center or transfer them to the ED.

Although 988 is being implemented nationally, each state is responsible for creating their own crisis response infrastructure. The federal government allocated $282 million to support the 180 regional crisis call centers, however, states must create their own plans to ensure their 988 program is strong enough to meet demand. The new number is estimated to help 6 million to 12 million individuals in the first year alone.

In addition to OpenBeds and the Crisis Management System, Treatment Connection is a patient-facing online assessment that helps individuals and their loved ones find mental health and substance use disorder (SUD) treatment near them. Treatment Connection can anonymously or non-anonymously refer patients to appropriate treatment centers based on the results from the self-assessment.

Like many other states, Delaware was impacted greatly by the opioid epidemic and experienced the second-highest drug overdose mortality rate in the country. Due to the high demand of behavioral health services, the state turned to OpenBeds for an easy-to-use, all-encompassing patient referral application.

Since the implementation of OpenBeds in October 2018, Delaware became the first state to make 100,000 referrals through the Delaware Treatment and Referral Network.

“This milestone represents a systematic improvement in identifying and treating individuals with substance use disorders. … That is 100,000 times where a pathway to treatment was made available for someone so they didn’t have to end up in the emergency room or worse.”

-Joanna Champney, Director of the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health

OpenBeds is dedicated to supporting states and their crisis management efforts with OpenBeds, Treatment Connection, and the Crisis Management System through the rollout of 988 and beyond.

To learn more about how OpenBeds can support your state, visit our OpenBeds page.