The mental health crisis is elevating healthcare costs, increasing suicide rates, and stressing care delivery models in every segment of healthcare. As evidence: the cost of care is 75% higher for people with co-occurring mental and physical health issues ; suicide is the 11th leading cause of death in the U.S. (2nd among people between the ages of 10 and 24) ; and 78% and 49% of psychiatrists and primary care physicians, respectively, report burnout . SEMCAP Health believes high-tech holistic healthcare models will play a critical role in expanding the reach of mental healthcare without imposing unsurmountable burdens on patients and providers.
Breaking Free from the Limitations of Low-Tech Holistic Healthcare
Many of today’s holistic healthcare models , which integrate mental healthcare into physical healthcare, are low-tech and hard to scale. Low-tech models are hard to scale because they include manual systems for conducting mental health assessments, engaging with at-risk patients, and risk-stratifying patient populations. These manual systems are time-consuming and error prone.
Providers’ impact on population health can only be optimized if productivity-boosting mental healthcare tools are integrated into—and simplify—clinical workflows. As a result, providers, payors, regulators, technology companies and investors must work together to develop and invest in tech-enabled holistic healthcare models that expand mental healthcare to more patients.
NeuroFlow: The Tech Engine that Scales Holistic Healthcare
SEMCAP Health invested in NeuroFlow because its software platform extends the reach of holistic healthcare for providers, payors, employers, and the military. NeuroFlow integrates continuous digital mental health assessments, automated and multi-modal patient engagement tools, and AI-driven risk-stratification systems into high-volume care settings, including primary care, women’s health clinics, and military bases.
NeuroFlow improves upon low-tech holistic healthcare by helping its customers prevent more suicides, reduce more ER visits, and improve the mental health of more patients. In one case study, Jefferson Health experienced a 34% reduction in emergency department (ED) utilization for primary care patients engaged with NeuroFlow compared to a 58% increase in ED utilization for patients in a control group . NeuroFlow’s platform also enjoys exceptional patient engagement and provider satisfaction.
The following formula summarizes the result that stems from low-tech mental healthcare integrations.
The low-tech holistic healthcare paradigm faces key barriers to scalability and impact:
Low-tech mental health integrations create more work for physicians. Physicians spend nearly 20% of their time on administrative tasks . “Pen and paper” mental health assessments, patient engagement via outbound phone calls, and manual risk-stratification systems add to this burden.
There are not enough mental health specialists to treat patients. Low-tech models do not adequately shift demand for mental health services from (i) a small supply of mental health specialists to (ii) a much larger supply of non-mental health specialists who may be able to manage basic mental health conditions as part of routine physical care.
High-tech mental health integrations can overcome these barriers. Non-mental health specialists can improve total cost of care and outcomes across larger populations when their daily routines are augmented by software that is integrated into EHRs and automatically identifies, engages with, and risk-stratifies patients in need of mental healthcare. Moreover, high-tech holistic healthcare models alleviate capacity constraints for mental health specialists, who become less inundated with patients whose mental health conditions are managed by non-mental health specialists.
Technology amplifies the impact of holistic healthcare by creating strong longitudinal links between mental health and physical health for millions more people:
Milliman calculated that the U.S. healthcare system could save between $26B and $48B annually if mental and physical health services were fully integrated . High-tech holistic healthcare accelerates the process of capturing these savings—and perhaps magnifies them. As a result, all stakeholders in healthcare must work together to develop and invest in technologies that systematically integrate mental healthcare into high volume physical care settings.
SEMCAP Health is eager to partner with businesses that are helping providers, payors, employers, and government entities migrate to the high-tech holistic health paradigm. Please reach out to us if you would like to collaborate or for more information on how SEMCAP Health’s investment team and deep network of Senior Operating Advisors may be able to help you unlock growth and value in your business.
Sources:  Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS). SAMHSA – Behavioral Health Integration.  Suicide Statistics and Facts. SAVE, https://save.org/about-suicide/suicide-statistics/.  Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): Addressing Burnout in the Behavioral Health Workforce Through Organizational Strategies. SAMHSA Publication No. PEP22-06-02-005. Rockville, MD: National Mental Health and Substance Use Policy Laboratory. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2022.  Holistic healthcare is defined here as care delivery models that integrate mental healthcare into physical healthcare (e.g. primary care).  How Jefferson Health Reduced ED Utilization by 34% with Digital Behavioral Health Integration. NeuroFlow, Inc., https://www.neuroflow.com/jefferson_health_case_study_lp/.  Administrative work consumes one-sixth of U.S. physicians' working hours and lowers their career satisfaction. Int J Health, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25626223/.  Potential Economic Impact of Integrated Medical-Behavioral Healthcare. Milliman. https://www.milliman.com/en/insight/potential-economic-impact-of-integrated-medicalbehavioral-healthcare-updated-projections.
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