TELEMENTAL HEALTH REPORT: How telehealth can help US hospitals and health systems manage the $238 billion mental health crisis
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The US is in the midst of a swelling mental health crisis that's expected to slam the healthcare system with $238 billion in costs in 2020.
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Health systems and hospitals need to shore up defenses to prep for the ever growing number of patients with mental health conditions who are flooding into emergency departments (EDs) — which will only become more difficult to manage given that hospitals are contending with a thinning pool of psychiatrists.
One way hospitals can more effectively triage patients and gain quicker access to mental health specialists when they need them is by equipping EDs with telemental health technology — which allows doctors to virtually connect with remote psychiatrists when patients come into the ED in need of a psychiatric consultation.
Telemental health solutions have helped hospitals better allocate a meager army of mental health specialists, pare down wait times for patients, and optimize the flow of patients in and out of ED beds. And it's offering them an entry point into a growing telemental health market that's projected to balloon to $747 million in the US in 2021 — more than triple its worth five years prior.
In this report, Business Insider Intelligence explores how the onus of the US' mental health crisis falls on health systems and hospitals, and how they can navigate the costly dilemma via telemental health. We first dive into the challenges providers are presented with amid the crisis and how traditional mental health strategies are falling short in addressing them. We then take a look at how some early moving health systems developed telehealth strategies to address their hospitals' unique issues and outline some of the potential barriers to adoption.
Here are some of the key takeaways of this report:
Deploying telemental health presents cost-saving opportunities for hospitals by way of stretching out shrinking pools of psychiatrists, avoiding value-based care (VBC) penalties that arise from unnecessary patient readmissions, and tapping into a new market of patients.
Health systems varying in size, location, and spending power differ in their approaches to telemental health: Some rely on the power of currently employed mental health specialists, while others tap into a new crop by partnering with third-party vendors.
We predict more health systems will turn to telemental health as the mental health crisis continues to swell and lay the pressure on EDs, but some barriers — like upfront costs and murky reimbursement policies — remain.
In full, the report:
Details the mental health crisis and how it's negatively impacting health systems and hospitals.
Explains how implementing telemental health can help hospitals better manage mental health patients and best make use of staff and resources.
Outlines how three early moving health systems are deploying telemental health — and the opportunities it presents for others like them.
Considers what the future of telemental health looks like for health systems and what could impede and propel more widespread adoption.
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