Technology Platform Integrated with Primary Care Takes Aim at One of Health Care’s Most Crushing Problems: Mental Health
// By Cheryl L. Serra //
Fragmentation and lack of coordination in health care are still rampant. Intermountain Healthcare has proven that a team-based, holistic approach to mental health, rooted in primary care and enabled through technology, improves outcomes and reduces cost.
More than 20 years ago, Brenda Reiss-Brennan, PhD, APRN, recalls being invited by Intermountain Healthcare (IH) primary care doctors to help improve the quality of mental health care for their patients and families. She recalls the doctors’ challenge: “Our biggest burden is stress, substance use, domestic violence, and depression our families are coming in with,” they said. “We can’t get to the diabetes and the asthma. It’s all entwined.”
“IH leaders listened to their primary care doctors call for help with mental health, and what their patients and families needed,” she says. “From that foundation we built a successful mental health integration program, and it became a holistic infrastructure for all chronic diseases.”
Under this systematic approach, whether the patient came in for diabetes or heart issues or a sore throat, health care staff also assessed them for mental health issues. Reiss-Brennan notes that mental health became normalized as a cultural process of routine medical care.
Reiss-Brennan explains that Intermountain was developing new innovations and launching new companies. By expanding the technology applications for mental health as well as integration methodology and implementation science, Intermountain sought to find an integrated digital solution that would allow them to scale the science of mental health integration. And in 2018, Alluceo, an Intermountain company, was launched. Reiss-Brennan serves as chief clinical sciences officer.
Alluceo offers proven, team-based mental health integration services. The company plans to use technological advances and collaborative innovation to integrate mental health fully into the clinical workflow of primary care.