Behavioral Health Impairment Score: Embracing the 6th Vital Sign

A patient goes to the doctor’s office, sits down on the examination table, and has their vitals taken⎯ body temperature, blood pressure, pulse, respiratory rate and pain. In a matter of minutes, the provider has a relatively clear picture of the patient’s physical health.

Vital signs have become second nature to providers. But is the information provided by the these signs adequate?

While the five vitals provide a window into physical wellbeing, they neglect to deliver information on a patient’s behavioral status. Yet, behavioral conditions have relevance to clinical outcomes.

Patients with behavioral health conditions are significantly less likely to recover from medical illnesses. They are three times more likely to have issues with treatment adherence, and, on average, have a two to three times higher cost of care. They also have a higher risk of life threatening conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity, epilepsy and cancer.

The healthcare system is aware of this relationship, which has given root to initiatives focused on integrating medical and behavioral healthcare.

But why isn’t behavioral health a universal part of the vital mix? Because it has historically been difficult to measure and nearly impossible to standardize. Until now.

Tridiuum1 quantifies Behavioral Health Impairment (BHI), a standardized measurement of each patient’s behavioral health severity. BHI is a breakthrough metric for providers in all specialties and settings, fully integrating behavioral health into the “vital view” of the patient.

Systematically capturing behavioral health data is a powerful concept in and of itself, but BHI takes it a step further. In addition to measuring BHI for each patient that walks into the office, Tridiuum measures the metric against validated population data so that ‘norms’ can be defined by patient segments. Much like acceptable ranges for blood pressure vary depending upon sex, age and activity level, acceptable levels for BHI vary amongst subsets of the patient population. For example, a cancer patient is likely to exhibit a higher level of psychosocial distress than a healthy primary care patient. Tridiuum takes these variables into account so that providers can make care decisions that are both informed and individualized.

And measurement of BHI is not an isolated event. It occurs longitudinally over the course of care. Providers can track BHI over time to manage risk factors, understand patient progress and further refine treatment to achieve better treatment response, adherence and recovery.

Contact Tridiuum to learn more about BHI’s transformative power.