How to Tailor a Behavioral Health Program Across Health System Patient Journeys

How to Tailor a Behavioral Health Program Across Health System Patient Journeys

Integrating behavioral health into existing patient journeys, whether a patient just received a cancer diagnosis, is an expecting mother, or is experiencing escalating anxiety at a primary care appointment, is the right thing to do – for the patient and for the health system. 

At Iris Telehealth, we work with health systems to tailor programs that seamlessly integrate into their existing service lines to address population-specific needs and acuity levels.

In this piece, we’ll offer insights into our approach to augmenting and building tailored behavioral health programs and look at a list of considerations and questions your team should ask when standing up a solution.

No two health systems have the same capabilities or needs

The needs across health systems vary greatly depending on location, patient population, and other variables like access to behavioral health providers.

That’s why, at Iris, our strategy is to meet organizations where they are and augment whatever components they have in place. Whether that’s a provider team, technology, or processes, we work to tweak and enhance what’s needed, but never throw out what’s working.

  • Oncology care
  • Women’s health
  • Employee access programs
  • Primary care integration

Integrating behavioral health across all patient journeys can transform a health system and how it delivers care to its community.

While in some instances we start from square one, other times we build on what an organization already has in place. Everyone’s path to meeting their patient’s behavioral health needs will look different.

Questions to consider around care models, data analytics, and technology

When customizing your behavioral health program for your patient’s needs, there are three components every organization should consider – the care model, data analytics, and technology to drive optimal patient engagement.

Within each of these categories, you can tweak the ingredients to help ensure they fit what your organization needs.

Here are a few questions and considerations you might start thinking through.

  • What are the unique needs of this patient population?  Do they need 24/7 coverage?  What are the common acuity levels and diagnoses? 
  • What are the integration points with this behavioral health program and the broader health system?  How do we drive optimal transitions of care and collaboration? 
  • What provider licensures, types and specializations would best suit our needs?
  • What KPIs are critical to measure that will drive program, operational, clinical, and financial success?
  • How do we capture and measure the critical variables and bring them together to ensure the data is visible and actionable?
  • Would risk stratification of the patient population bring value to the program?  
  • How do we leverage and optimize the existing EMR and technology to drive program success?
  • Are there ways we should optimize and configure our EMR?
  • Are there additional tools or solutions we should integrate into our ecosystem that would drive value?
  • How are we engaging our patients and driving measurement-based care?

Tailoring your behavioral health program starts by defining what success will look like for your organization. That’s why it’s important to consider what problems you’re solving for and looking at what solutions you already have in place.

Behavioral health program design in action with Geisinger Health

Geisinger Health sought the help of Iris Telehealth to help increase access at scale to help their behavioral health patients across the care continuum.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Geisinger saw their behavioral health referrals increase at a fast rate, sometimes exceeding 300 referrals per day.

Emphasizing the need for providers practicing at the top of their licenses and seeing an opportunity for several new provider roles, Iris developed a best-in-class behavioral health program.  

To support their needs, we created a care navigation assessment led by LCSWs to triage patients in Geisinger’s referral queue and deployed a dedicated team of psychiatrists, psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners and licensed therapists ensure patients got to the right level of care in a timely manner.

To read the full case study and see the results of work together, click this link.

Define your needs and get your behavioral health program started with Iris

Over the last ten years, we’ve been creating the behavioral health building blocks to snap into an organization’s existing program or help create what’s needed from scratch. With our best-in-class capabilities we help fill in the unique gaps of your health system and get your patients the care they need.

If you’d like to learn more about how we can help your organization tailor your behavioral health program, you can contact us here!

We want to hear from you. Seriously.

Whether you are a health organization looking to expand your telepsychiatry services or a prospective clinician who wants to join the team, we’d love to talk!