Patients with urgent mental health care needs can connect to a provider in as little as 16 minutes. In this Behavioral Health Business article, Mindpath Health’s Diego Garza, MD, MPH, explains why swift access to care remains a perennial issue.
Mindpath Health’s new on-demand platform can connect patients to clinicians via telehealth in 16 minutes on average.
In all, Mindpath On Demand tallied 2,265 patient encounters during 2021. This illustrated a potential avenue for outpatient mental health providers to differentiate themselves as they try to appeal to strategic partners. The whitepaper identifies “employers, brokers, payors, and accountable care organizations.”
Today, Mindpath On Demand is a permanent part of Mindpath Health’s operations and will be expanding to other state markets. It is online in North Carolina and Texas, Dr. Diego Garza, Senior Vice President of Innovation and Telehealth for Mindpath Health, said in a statement.
“We have seen how this improves the health outcomes of our patient population, and how it creates a safety net for our patients and providers by increasing access to quality healthcare services,” Garza said. “The current behavioral healthcare landscape needs this service.”
Swift access to care is a perennial issue in behavioral health. The National Council for Mental Wellbeing posits that the average wait time for mental health services is 48 days. This is one of the market conditions that has led to the rise of digital mental health providers that promise much shorter wait times such as Talkspace and Cerebral.
The whitepaper described North Carolina as a saturated market.
“In these market conditions, we can open a digital front door and provide access to care within minutes,” the whitepaper states.
Mindpath On Demand served patients aged 6 and over. The service was designed to aid them through a range of issues and levels of acuity. But the services largely focused on medication issues, psychiatry and psychotherapy for anxiety and depression.
Most patient encounters — 80% — were related to medication concerns while the remaining 20% were for psychotherapy sessions, the report states.
About 60% of the patient encounters involved depression and anxiety. The onset of COVID precipitated a rise in rates of these conditions in the U.S. Pre-pandemic, the estimated share of American adults reporting both conditions were in the single digits. But from April to August 2021, rates of both ballooned to over 30%, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Questions about attention deficit disorder (20%) and bipolar disorder (15%) made up most of the rest of the conditions the program addressed.
Mindpath On Demand appears to appeal more to women and younger people than other demographic groups. About 56% of patients identified as female while 68% were younger than 40.
The program also appeared to be able to resolve most patients’ issues with Mindpath Health resources and engage patients beyond the on-demand telehealth appointment.
About 84% of patients seen by Mindpath On Demand stayed in treatment for at least one additional session with the company. About 65% of patients had only one Mindpath On Demand visit. About 35% had two or three Mindpath On Demand visits.
A little less than half, 43%, of patients were deemed medium or high acuity by licensed clinicians; 89% of those patients were kept in Mindpath Health’s outpatient systems while about 5% were recommended or referred to a higher level of care, the report states.
Mindpath Health was enabled by the company’s existing technology infrastructure and clinical focus.
“We’ve made the model accessible to patients through our website and our centralized intake process,” the whitepaper states.
Mindpath Health selected clinicians to participate in Mindpath On Demand based on experience in inpatient and urgent care settings. It also put the effort under the supervision of the Office of the Chief Medical Officer and obtained URAC accreditation for telehealth.
On top of increasing timely access to care, the whitepaper frames Mindpath On Demand as a cost-savings initiative. It estimates that each person that it serves and potentially diverted away from an emergency room saves the health system about $2,000. The whitepaper cites data from UnitedHealthcare’s website comparing emergency room and urgent care costs.
A report by Premier Inc. (NASDAQ: PINC) found that behavioral health patients on Medicaid cost emergency rooms between $1,198 and $2,264 per visit to treat and as many as 2.4 million, 42%, of these emergency room visits could be avoided if identified and addressed in lower-cost settings.
Mindpath Health has grown via M&A since its formation in May 2021 via the merger of Community Psychiatry and MindPath Care Centers. Most recently, it acquired Acacia Counseling and Wellness.
The Mindpath On Demand model also confirms the company’s specific interest in digital solutions. In May 2022, Axios Pro reported that Mindpath Health made a run at the embattled virtual mental health provider Talkspace.
Read the full Behavioral Health Business article with sources.
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