RESEARCH ARTICLE


Technology-enabled Behavioral Health Integration Decreases Emergency Department Utilization



Adam Pardes1, *, Rachelle Rene2, #, Phansy Chun2, #, Mollie Cherson2, #
1 NeuroFlow, Inc., Philadelphia, PA, United States
2 Jefferson Health, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA 19144, United States


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Creative Commons License
© 2022 Pardes et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode. This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the NeuroFlow, Inc., Philadelphia, PA, United States; E-mail:adam@neuroflow.com
#These authors have contributed equally to this work


Abstract

Background:

Behavioral health integration allows for patient-centered care, leads to higher levels of provider-patient engagement, and is key to improving patient outcomes. However, behavioral health integration is administratively burdensome and therefore is often not adopted. Technology presents opportunities to increase care team efficiency and improve patient outcomes. The goal of this study was to retrospectively compare clinical outcomes and emergency department utilization in patients using a technology platform compared to patients receiving treatment as usual.

Methods:

The technology platform, NeuroFlow, was deployed to deliver technology-enabled behavioral health integration in 30 clinics, and 598 electronic health records were analyzed.

Results:

In the six-month period following technology-enabled behavioral health integration implementation, emergency department utilization decreased by 34% in the treatment group (n=259), while increasing by 58% in the treatment as usual group (n=339). Additionally, statistically significant (p < .01) decreases in PHQ-9 (-17.3%) and GAD-7 (-12.4%) scores were only observed in the treatment group.

Conclusion:

Findings from this study support use of a technology-enabled behavioral health tool to decrease emergency department use and highlight the importance of measurement-based care. Future research will be key to enhancing behavioral health technology and integration to further improve patient outcomes and reduce emergency department utilization.

Keywords: Behavioral health, Technology, Integrated care, Anxiety, Depression, Mental health care.