The Look and Feel of Integrated Health Care

 

Any observer of health care has heard a lot about integration. The system can’t move forward without it. It’s the panacea for siloed, fragmented care. Once we achieve the integration between behavioral and physical health services, we have achieved true person-centered, holistic care.

Most people agree that integration is how we develop truly effective care, but how to implement integration remains a debated topic. There has been a lot written about the issue, such as Beacon Health Options’ Integration White Paper, which builds an argument for integrating care through the collaborative care model (CCM), pioneered by the AIMS Center, University of Washington.

In brief, that model asserts that if all CCM’s five pillars – care that is team-based, population-based, measurement-based, evidence-based and accountable – are applied as part of a cohesive model, then we can start to address some of the system’s current shortfalls. Successfully implemented, this model points to improved health outcomes and cost-savings, for both medical and behavioral health.

The concept promulgated in Beacon’s White Paper is clear, but what does integration really look and feel like? What are the day-to-day workings of an integrated office versus a non-integrated office? What is the experience of the patient? What is the experience of the provider?

For example, one study comparing financial outcomes of clinics practicing collaborative care versus those that don’t, showed that while health care costs increased for all, the clinics practicing collaborative care experienced only 73 percent of the increase experienced by business-as-usual clinics, with a 54 percent decrease in ER utilization and a 49 percent decrease in inpatient psychiatric care. However, in spite of the compelling evidence of the CCM’s effectiveness, it has not been accepted by most primary care offices. It’s a complicated endeavor and difficult to implement.

The personal experience of integration

The concept promulgated in Beacon’s White Paper is clear, but what does integration really look and feel like? What are the day-to-day workings of an integrated office versus a non-integrated office? What is the experience of the patient? What is the experience of the provider?

Beacon has endeavored to answer these questions by bringing concepts to life through producing a new video, “Integration.” The video paints a clear picture of ineffective, chaotic care and then how that subpar care can be much improved through applying CCM principles.

You can view the video above. Take six minutes out of your day to get a glimpse at aspirational care. We hope that you find it educational for you personally, and that it spurs discussion and debate within your teams and organization as well. We encourage you to share it with anyone who would benefit from understanding more about integrated healthcare. If you’d like more information regarding our Integration white paper, including an informative slide deck and a recording of Beacon’s thought leaders discussing the White Paper, click here.

Stay tuned for more Beacon videos on topics of critical importance to the industry. In the spirit of continuous quality improvement, we seek your feedback on Beacon’s inaugural video on the very important topic integration. Contact Dale Seamans, Executive Editor, Thought Leadership, at dale.seamans@beaconhealthoptions.com, to provide your feedback.

 

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