Behavioral Health Interventions Reduce Cost of Medical Care

FierceHealthIT reported last week that Behavioral Health remote monitoring cuts hospital admissions. While this kind of result has been reported in the past, largely by mental health researchers, it is interesting to see a study performed by an insurer and a telehealth company.

The intervention used was Cognitive Behavioral Therapy; the illness was a significant cardiac event like myocardial infarction; the outcome was significantly reduced days in hospital. The study was published in the AJMC, a managed care journal and is titled Leveraging Remote Behavioral Health Interventions to Improve Medical Outcomes and Reduce Cost.

We demonstrated that an 8-week remotely delivered behavioral change intervention was associated with cost savings, driven by an adjusted 48% reduction in total inpatient days and a 31% reduction in all-cause hospital admissions in the 6-month follow-up period. These substantial reductions in healthcare utilization and associated cost savings were attributable to the delivery of a high-quality behavioral health program for this high-risk group of patients with cardiovascular disease. This study shows that focused targeting of patients with highrisk clinical conditions, coupled with highly successful engagement strategies, can lead not only to meaningful behavioral health improvements, but also to improved medical outcomes and lower healthcare expenditures. – See more at: http://www.ajmc.com/publications/issue/2015/2015-vol21-n2/leveraging-remote-behavioral-health-interventions-to-improve-medical-outcomes-and-reduce-costs/2#sthash.iYptPAp7.dpuf

The interventions were evidence-based, provided according to protocol by skilled therapists. I wonder how many of your organizations have a health psychology focus. Have you considered providing such services to reduce the costs of medical care? Perhaps insurers will begin to look for providers who can contract for such interventions.

What are your thoughts on integrating such interventions into your practice? Please share your comments below.

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