Transforming Healthcare Delivery Through Collaborative Care

The link between mind and body is complex, yet undeniable. Mental health concerns can negatively impact physical health or be the root cause of serious physical conditions such as heart and lung diseases and immune function. Conversely, physical illnesses can trigger mental health problems including depression, anxiety and substance use disorders.

Despite their proven interconnectedness, physical and mental healthcare delivery systems tend to operate independently. Individuals suffering from depression, anxiety, or substance use disorders for example are accustomed to disjointed healthcare. The consequences of this fragmented model can include gaps in treatment, inadequate care, poor patient outcomes and increased healthcare costs.

The good news is that a promising collaborative care approach is underway. Integrating behavioral healthcare and primary healthcare within a primary care setting is the foundation of this new team-based model. Benefits include improved access to mental health care and reduced stigma. Further, this multi-disciplinary model removes some of the burden placed on primary care physicians who may not feel wholly comfortable treating behavioral health problems.

A joint report by the Psychiatric Association and the Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine found that the collaborative care model is effective and efficient in controlling costs, increasing behavioral health access, improving clinical outcomes, and boosting patient satisfaction in a variety of primary care settings.

According to Dr. Richard Sztramko, chief medical officer, Kerna Healthcare, a leader in digital connected care, "The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services are starting to realize the limitations of traditional healthcare delivery. A patient will see a doctor every three or six months; but a lot can happen daily and weekly between visits. In a collaborative care scenario, a collaborative care worker follows up with a patient on a regular basis. They conduct structured, reliable assessments and track symptoms, make referrals, and provide personalized educational resources; all while keeping the primary care physician and mental health care provider in the loop. Collaborative care is a revolutionary model of care."

At Total Brain, we are excited to be part of this healthcare revolution. Kerna Health is integrating Total Brain’s SaaS-based mental health platform into the company’s Behavioral Health Integration support solution. Our monitoring and support tools will be available to Kerna’s managed patients. Further, Kerna’s clinical clients, including physician offices, hospitals, and long-term care facilities, will have access to Total Brain’s patient management and reporting capabilities.

We spoke to Dr Sztramko recently about what is new in collaborative care for the treatment of depression. Download the eBook from this insightful conversation.

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