Interoperability must become more than a buzz word in the healthcare industry. For healthcare providers today, it is time to go beyond the technical sharing of data to look at the outcomes healthcare organizations and their consumers receive from data sharing and integration.
Accountable Care Organizations, which used to be the wave of the future, are the here and now. As groups of doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers come together to coordinate care, it is essential they include behavioral health providers in the mix. According to a recent National Comorbidity Survey, 17 percent of the adult population had comorbid mental and medical conditions within a 12-month period. Patients with comorbidities require a comprehensive treatment plan to truly bend the cost curve. For example, statistics show a person with diabetes will cost an average of $9,000 per year to treat. However If that person also has a diagnosis of a behavioral health and/or a substance use disorder, that number skyrockets to more than $36,000 per year. ACOs focused on the whole person will be much better positioned to achieve the needed outcomes and cost reductions required within ACO populations.
There’s been a lot of talk about the care management and coordination approach organizations should take. Traditional health and human services agencies are being asked to manage/coordinate care for clients or patients. It’s important your organization’s partners share your vision. The collective we are responsible for the care of an individual — even when the services are not directly provided by the organization. When coordinating care, the case managers become the care managers.
Healthcare initiatives like care coordination, interoperability, and CDSS all rely on the ability to reliably and quickly share information. To be certain healthcare providers are successful in the future, they must not only provide better care with less, they must also become partners with providers from treatment settings previously considered disparate. Whether these are providers of mental health, substance use, public health, or primary care services, they must open their minds to parallel treatment paradigms while opening their systems to parallel data sources.