|How Providers Can Continue to Support Mental Health Services Post-Pandemic|
While the pandemic is subsiding, provider organizations can
continue to focus on expanding behavioral health service access through
telehealth. The behavioral health services space experienced heightened
attention as people suffered from greater levels of stress, anxiety, and
depression during the pandemic.
Urvashi Patel, PhD, chief analytics officer, Brighton Health
Plan Solutions, a healthcare enablement company based in New York, said
there was a shortage of behavioral health workers prior to the pandemic, and it
has only underscored the importance of adequately supporting mental health
services. She added the need for greater access to pediatric behavioral health
services will be evident over the next year.
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When asked what hospital executives can do to address the
issue, Patel said provider organizations can continue to focus on expanding
behavioral health service access through telehealth. She added telemedicine
apps that offer mental health services through text or chat features can
provide convenient access for patients and lead to improved appointment
Hospitals and health systems should also explore models of
integrated care that coordinate treatment with behavioral health specialists
and primary care doctors. She also said another opportunity exists for health
systems in states where advanced practice nurses can practice psychiatry on
their own, noting tapping into this workforce can meet patient demand.
While there has been a significant drop-off from the record-high
overall utilization of telehealth at the start of the pandemic, Patel said
behavioral health utilization through virtual care has only seen a slight
Patel added that behavioral health services might have a
longer staying power when delivered through telehealth and could aid in
removing the stigma for patients when seeking mental health treatment.
—Adapted from "How
Providers Can Continue to Support Mental Health Services Post-Pandemic," HealthLeaders, by Jack O’Brien, April 27, 2021.
How Providers Can Continue to Support Mental Health