Making Primary Priority: Bringing Behavioral Health to Primary Care

Primary care physicians oversee the day-to-day healthcare needs of patients—both healthy and unhealthy. The nature of their work gives them the distinction of interacting with a greater number of patients than any other care provider. In addition to their sheer volume, primary care patients span a diverse range of ages, with a wider spectrum of care needs, socioeconomic statuses and ethnicities.

Enter behavioral health. Research tells us that one in two adults will experience a mental illness in his or her lifetime. As the first stop for patients of all walks of life, for all conditions, primary care is the ideal setting to proactively address behavioral health for the greatest impact.

The potential positive impact of effectively addressing behavioral health in the primary care setting is notable. In fact, according to our models, properly addressing behavioral health can save more than $15 billion each year in primary care spending alone.

But for the busy primary care provider, addressing behavioral health effectively depends on a technology that is optimized to meet this setting’s unique demands. Let’s take a look at some of the characteristics that make a technology best suited for the primary care environment.

1: Easy to Use: The diverse primary care population includes patients with widely varying levels of comfort and familiarity with technology. In order to be useful, a technology must first be usable—so intuitive that patients of all ages enjoy interacting with it.

2: Simple to Deploy: In addition to being easy to use, a technology suited for primary care must be easy to deploy. Were the primary care clinician to provide all recommended services to the US’s average patient panel size, it would take him or her more than 20 hours a day. Needless to say, primary care clinicians work in a time-pressed environment. A technology should not add to the clinician’s existing demands.

3: Integrated & Predictive: Today’s medical environment is chock-full of disparate technologies, from the EHR repository, to the patient portal, and more. In order to effectively address behavioral health in the primary care setting, a technology must seamlessly marry behavioral data with medical and claims data to be truly predictive and transformative.

4: Pays Its Own Way: As health systems are challenged to deliver more with less, any technology that makes its way through the primary care practice’s doors must reduce costs or grow revenue. In other words, an ideal technology must pay its own way—at no cost to the provider or its patients.

5: Accurate & Proven: The primary care setting is no place for experiments, especially when it comes to a patient’s behavioral health. That’s why an ideal behavioral health technology must be validated to uncover the issues that matter, and quantify severity with astounding accuracy.

6: Comprehensive: It’s not enough to identify a mental or behavioral health condition. In order to reduce the destructive effect of behavioral health conditions on provider outcomes and patient lives, a technology must empower providers to proactively monitor, manage, coordinate and intervene in a variety of high-impact ways.

7: For Patients & Populations: The dichotomy and quintessential challenge of today’s primary care setting is the need to deliver precise, individualized care while also managing behavioral health at a macro, or population, level. The right technology will be able to navigate behavioral health in its entirety—from the individual patient to the entire population.

At Tridiuum, we’re changing lives with Tridiuum1, the first technology to make behavioral care an integral part of the primary care experience.

Do you believe behavioral and medical health should have total parity, and primary care is the place to start? Contact us today.