Behavioral & Population Health – A US Perspective

My background has been in US and international markets with corporate healthcare and eHealth organizations such as Aetna, WebMD, ICW AG and currently, SilverCloud Health. Driven by a passion for quality health outcomes, I have successfully operated and engaged in multiple entrepreneurial start-up and turnaround opportunities in healthcare technology. In this blog post, I offer my perspective into some of the major changes taking place within the US behavioral healthcare sector.

Behavioral healthcare in the US

In the United States, the burden of the cost of behavioral healthcare has historically fallen primarily on the shoulders of the patient and their families. Thankfully, over the past twenty years that burden has begun to ease.  And in November 2013, approval of Final Rules was announced for ‘The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008’ (MHPAEA). The MHPAEA represents substantive change in coverage and reimbursement requirements. However, amid the changing healthcare landscape in the US, the impact of this legislation may not be fully known until real-world tested, fully implemented and perhaps litigated.

Progress through technology

Behavioral healthcare in the US is beginning to more thoughtfully address matters of stigma, access and cost. Furthermore, delivery of appropriate, timely, efficient, and effective behavioral healthcare is being addressed through adaptive innovation and advances in the unique application of technologies. For the last 15-20 years, online therapies have delivered basic levels of support with disappointing results. More recently, highly creative and more blended approaches which engage the user and the clinician in an online therapeutic space have evolved. This blended approach provides care and support, combining human engagement with technology. Championed by SilverCloud Health, these innovations can be used to extend clinical services, rather than attempt to replace them, and offers patients broader, easy-to-access options.

A breakthrough for Population Health?

There is also growing recognition of the impact of behavioral health on population health management. For patients, there are often co-morbidities of depression, anxiety or stress that co-occur along with their physical chronic conditions. SilverCloud Health has developed a blended approach of dynamic online patient engagement solutions, creating a bridge between behavioral and physical health. Infusing behavioral healthcare in the treatment of chronic care patients represents an opportunity to truly address the underlying challenges of non-adherence and non-compliance in an innovative and dynamic way. It supports not only patient engagement, but patient accountability, leading to healthier lifestyles and quality outcomes – and achieving a lower cost impact on the healthcare system.   

This breakthrough could not have come at a better time for the US healthcare market as it continues to wrestle with the issues of cost and quality. In addition to providing low barrier access and quality outcomes on par with traditional therapeutic methods, these guided online health and wellness solutions are set to help stabilize and support reduction in the growing costs of healthcare in the United States.

Mark Wallin, SVP, SilverCloud Health Inc.