By Michael Dulin, MD, PhD
Primary care practices, where people receive vaccinations, chronic condition assessments and preventive care, are also ideal places for screening and early treatment of behavioral health issues. Indeed, 70% of all primary care visits are driven by patients’ psychological needs.
Primary care physicians (PCPs) are trained to care for many common behavioral health problems, and they often work closely with behavioral health specialist who are often in short supply. Thus, having access to primary care can keep patients in good health and prevent them from having to access emergency services when in crisis. PCPs also serve as the conduit across specialists and types of healthcare services, overcoming the often fragmented and reactive services that don’t nurture patient wellness.
Information — from patient profiles, demographics, clinical histories and notes to lab results, pharmacy records, claims, social determinants of health (SDoH), wearable- and patient-reported data — supports prediction and prognosis of behavioral health conditions and is now an essential tool for primary care providers. Advanced analytics applied to standardized, diverse data can yield insights that predict mental health needs. Using these actionable insights, PCPs can create appropriate treatment strategies for meaningful impact on health quality and cost control — foundations of value-based care.
Insights can advise PCPs when to conduct behavioral health assessments and help explain the findings, including potential effects on physical health, suggested improvements to the patient’s environmental and social context and more.
Transparency to track achievement within a value-based contract
As an example of how data can enhance primary care effectiveness, a leading healthcare plan in the Northeast and Gray Matter Analytics client worked together on to address the challenge of post-partum depression – including delayed diagnosis and impact on patients as well as medical costs. The team wanted to identify and proactively support people at risk for mental health issues in maternity. The Gray Matter Analytics predictive analytics models calculated the health plan members’ risk scores, considering substance abuse history and traumatic brain injury, among other factors.
With clear visual displays of health risks viewed in analytics dashboards, the insurance company was able to intervene with relevant primary care and alleviate behavioral health crises and high-cost utilization. Want to know more about this success story? Download the case study.
The complexity of data ecosystems and specificity of value-based care measures call for an expertise rarely created within health systems or specialty practices. What’s more, tools for reliable effective insight are difficult to hone and keep current. Learn more about the advanced analytics and machine learning capabilities of our CoreTechs® Solution and how they can help you offer the best whole-person care, while also managing cost.