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How to Deliver Better Behavioral Health Online

By 04.07.21
Reading time: 4 minutes

2020 put a spotlight on behavioral health. It is important to remember that a person’s mental health can change over time, depending on many factors. When the demands placed on a person exceed their resources and coping abilities, their mental health could be impacted.

Mental illnesses are among the most common health conditions in the United States. According to the World Health Organization, 1 in 4 people across the globe will experience mental illness or neurological disorders at some point in their lives. And over 60% of Americans feel they’re under a significant and unhealthy amount of stress, according to the American Psychological Association. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost a third of adults with a medical condition also have some type of mental health disorder, with over 70% of behavioral health patients having a medical co-morbidity. The presence of both mental and chronic health conditions in a patient often increase their healthcare costs. Patients with untreated depression and a chronic illness have monthly healthcare costs that average $560 higher than those with just a chronic disease, according to the American Hospital Association.

Yet one of the main obstacles with mental healthcare is the lack of access to treatment and care, and even more basic, the lack of confirmation that the illness exists.

More patients look for behavioral health services virtually

Telehealth has been around for years, with mental health as one of the earliest adopters of the technology. Besides traditional providers, popular online services like American Well, TalkSpace, BetterHelp, and Breakthrough offer various ways for individuals to connect to therapists, such as texting, live chat, or video calls. TalkSpace alone has over 1 million users.

But providers don’t need to be tech darlings to deliver better behavioral care, virtually. 

Telehealth could account for 20 percent, or $250 billion, of U.S. healthcare spending in the near future. In fact, 97% of patients surveyed were satisfied by their first telehealth experience. The rise of telehealth means patients can find the best therapist or psychiatrist for their needs, whether they’re based in Kansas City or Los Angeles. Behavioral health organizations have an opportunity to communicate to a broader population set than in the past, opening up the possibility of serving a much greater community, unbound by geography. 

This makes the technology underpinning those services more important than ever. With practice areas more loosely defined and spread over a broader geographical area, mental health organizations need a way to conduct outreach, meet patient needs, and deal with administrative areas like insurance and billing.

Convenience is key

Driven by personalized, data-rich digital technologies, the rise of telehealth means consumers can access care where, when and how they want it. Not only is this more convenient and affordable, but it provides a means to access care without potential exposure to coronavirus. 

As the utilization of virtual healthcare grows, it will be important for physicians to continue integrating more technology into their practices to make it easier for individuals to access services through online scheduling, and to access their health records digitally. Providers can use data, predictive analytics, and Artificial Intelligence to create a personalized experience for patients. Through offering a patient-facing portal or app that they can access 24/7, patients will be educated about health risks and next steps in their treatment plan to understand their health and help their providers close any care gaps. 

Investing in the right technology matters

Historically, the majority of behavioral health treatments for patients with mental health or neurological disorders were done in person or in support groups. Supporting pre-existing disorders, addiction and substance use disorders, or other mental health services requires a hybrid approach.

New models of care that focus on a digital experience makes it easier for patients and providers to connect. Annum Health, a telehealth startup, partnered with Silverline to build out the technical infrastructure for its behavioral treatment program. The solution consisted of Salesforce Sales and Service Cloud for internal employees, a Partner Community for contracted prescribers and therapists, and a mobile application for program participants.

Technology like Salesforce can facilitate the journey to improve the overall patient experience and delivery of care. It also provides opportunities to enhance the operational model of these organizations by providing better reporting, assessment, form management, automation, service scheduling, and patient access.

Making behavioral health personal and accessible

Whether you operate in a facility-based model of care or are experimenting with digital solutions, a stronger technological base will help you deliver a better, more streamlined model of care for mental health patients. With Salesforce, you can:

  • Create continuity of care: Access the right information at the right time in the right channel so patients feel seen 
  • One source of truth: Consolidate existing applications onto one platform, with EHR integrations so everything is in one place
  • Save staff time: Improve task management with guided workflows to increase productivity and reduce data entry or other manual tasks
  • Streamline communications: Make it easier for patients, families, and staff to communicate on care plans, next steps, and more

Deliver better behavioral health with Silverline

Silverline works with organizations to develop behavioral health software for mobile applications and other digital experiences that facilitate interactions between a variety of key stakeholders including patients, therapists, nurses, payers, onboarding teams, and many others. 

In order to effectively build this digital model, Silverline focuses on using an experience-design-first approach.


See how Silverline can support your behavioral health practice — contact us.

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