Care Model: Behavioral Health

There are many challenges in the delivery of mental health care in the United States and despite recent government initiatives, experts have found that the system is deteriorating faster than it’s improving. More adults are seeking mental health care; however, there’s a glaring shortage of providers, with over 75% of U.S. counties lacking prescriber. This is largely due to disincentives in how we reimburse for behavioral health services.

Many agree that the single most promising new development in treatment capacity expansion is telehealth. The relaxed restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic caused a dramatic shift. With outcomes being comparable, both patients and providers find it essential. Continued access via telehealth along with alternative payments provide some hope that new behavioral health care models can make difference.

Launching your Behavioral Health Care Model: Questions to Ask #

The behavioral health space is prime for disruption. To be successful and drive value, you’ll need to differentiate on your care model. You’ll likely start by asking the questions outlined below. Once you’ve settled on a direction for each, we’ve outlined recommended next steps to get started.

Diagnostic Range and Inputs #

What problem and/or population are we addressing?

What is your target population? Does your care model support a broad range of mental health concerns for all genders and ages (everything in the DSM), or are you focused on adolescents suffering from eating disorders? Recognizing your Diagnostic Range is a critical starting point, as it informs the complexity of your healthcare practice. After defining your target population you may want to:

👉 Build and load Behavioral Health Questionnaires in order to collect the necessary data to inform your clinical decision making
👉 Customize search results to only surface behavioral health ICD-10 codes in the diagnose command.

Scope of Interventions & Safety Framework #

How will we treat our patients?
Next you’ll need to determine what services and treatments you plan to offer. As your Scope of Interventions broadens, and your care model gets more complex, you will also need to apply more rigor in your safety framework. Use the following resources to do so:

👉 Configure roles and assign permissions so that team members can perform the duties of their role.
👉 Build a safety framework to support evidence-based workflows.

Care Team Composition and Sourcing #

What is the makeup of our Care Team?
As the demand for mental health services continues to rise, various factors, including an aging workforce, recruitment and retention challenges, geographic disparities, and financial barriers, have contributed to the scarcity of providers. As a result, fewer than half of people with a mental illness were able to access timely care in 2021. Innovating on the makeup of your care team can help to address this shortage and set you apart. Once you’ve established your care team makeup you can:

👉 Customize Canvas to support team-based care for your multidisciplinary behavioral health team

Patient Sourcing & Intake #

How will we acquire patients?
Strategy around how you source and onboard new patients is necessary to successfully attract and connect with individuals in need of mental health services, establish a positive first impression, gather comprehensive patient information, and prioritize the well-being and safety of patients throughout their care journey.

👉 Optimize intake to provide a seamless digital experience for your patients.

Ongoing Interaction Modes & Utilization Policies #

How will we interact with our patients/clients?
Dropout from mental healthcare before the provider recommends is far too common. A plan to keep patients engaged is essential to ensure follow through with treatment. The guides below provide various ways to stay in touch with your population both synchronously and asynchronously.

👉 Integrate your external scheduling workflows to promote access
👉 Map out your patient messagaing to ensure patient engagement
👉 Use a queue-based workflow to support asynchronous care.

Content and Automation #

How can we drive efficiency in our workflows?
In the context of care modeling, content falls into two buckets: patient-facing content and care team-facing content. Once the content is defined, building in automation in the form of templates, macros, and guidance is crucial to effectively scale. To support your behavioral health clinicians in delivering high quality care, you can:

👉 Create automations to accelerate the documentation of common behavioral health visits

Pricing and Payments #

How will we get paid?
Although listed last, payment should not be an afterthought. Incentives are important and your care model will undoubtedly be influenced by your payment model. We built our fully integrated Revenue module to support all models, including direct-to-consumer (D2C), self-insured employers (SIE), fee-for-service reimbursement (FFS), and/or value-based contracting (VBC). To get paid, you may need to:

👉 Set up your instance to capture charges for the mental health services you provide

Next Steps #

The linked articles and guides are only a starting point to give you some ideas of how you could leverage Canvas’s capabilities. You’ll find that we’ve barely scratched the surface and the opportunities are endless as you navigate through your care modeling journey.