It can be difficult to find creative ways to optimize the time of psychiatrists and other caregivers who treat mental health patients. Likewise, finding better ways to integrate behavioral health and primary care to improve patient access and outcomes can be challenging. Montefiore Health System in New York has made great progress in all of these areas by implementing the Collaborative Care Model and deploying a smartphone app for patients and caregivers.
The health system initiated the model with a grant from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Innovation Center, which helped Montefiore design, implement and sustain the approach to increase the availability and quality of behavioral services and test innovative reimbursement methods. At the same time, Montefiore began looking for ways to leverage digital tools, including a smartphone application that could be used by caregivers and patients. The Valera Health app was implemented to enhance care management capabilities and allow care managers to increase the number of patients with whom they interact.
Through the app, behavioral health managers can send patients educational materials and strategies on how to take care of themselves, as well as individualized reminders to help them stay on track with their health goals. The materials address issues such as medication and overall wellness in such areas as depression, anxiety, sleep hygiene, exercise, social activity and more. Since adoption, the app has improved the effectiveness and efficiency of the CoCM by allowing behavioral health care managers to work with higher caseloads while maintaining key elements of the care model aimed at improving treatment outcomes.
The AHA’s Value Initiative website offers a detailed case study on the impact of the Montefiore program, including lessons learned and tips for other organizations considering this approach to care.