In this session, the panel discussed the opportunities digital health offers currently for behavioral-health care, and what might be around the corner.
Session panelists included:
- Robert Hasty, General Counsel, Pelago (formerly Quit Genius)
- Tiffany Lin, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Daylight Health
- William Robinson, Head of Policy and Strategy, Big Health
- Moderator: James A. Cannatti III, Partner, McDermott Will & Emery
Top takeaways included:
- Accessing quality care. Digital health—including the technology itself and the care models based on it—has become a valuable addition to the healthcare ecosystem, offering increased access to critical behavioral-health care through, for example, 24/7 chat services, that otherwise may be out of reach for patients, especially for those in rural and marginalized communities. It also has played a significant role in destigmatizing behavioral health by breaking down barriers to treatment and providing platforms for individuals to seek support in convenient settings.
- Filling the gap. The shortage of clinicians has contributed to a tangible absence of specialty behavioral health providers. One example, pediatric psychiatry, continues to have a high demand but, unfortunately, many patients are met with a low supply of clinicians. Digital health helps fill an important gap in providing access to behavioral-health care.
- Hybrid treatment options. Implementing a hybrid treatment model that incorporates digital and in-person touchpoints can optimize scalability in digital healthcare. A hub-and-spoke model, in which digital tools are embedded within existing systems, offers a balance between prioritizing patients’ needs to receive care in a comfortable setting and the importance of assessing and referring individuals with more serious conditions to appropriate outpatient or inpatient programs.
- Across the pond. In markets such as the United Kingdom, the National Health Service (NHS) has actively explored and adopted digital-health solutions to enhance patient care and streamline healthcare delivery. In many cases, patients have access to digital-first mental health services at no cost to them. Lessons learned from the UK and other markets may help shape future approaches to digital behavioral health in the United States.
- Reimbursement landscape. Coverage and reimbursement often lags behind the science. This is particularly true regarding digital behavioral health. Finding market strategies that allow for patients to access care is critical. Expect to see continued leveraging of business-to-business (B2B) models and value-based care arrangements as new opportunities and approaches are also explored.