• Behavioral health disorders affect 44 million adults in America. Despite more than 70% of rural and urban patients reporting satisfaction with using telebehavioral health, fewer than half of this growing population receive the treatment they need.

    The stigma of mental illness, the lack of coverage and inadequate reimbursement, and a significant shortage of behavioral health professionals contribute to the barrier to care that exists for those who need it.

    The National Quality Forum (NQF), the nation’s leading resource for health care quality measurement and improvement, and the American Hospital Association (AHA) Center for Health Innovation have partnered to release Redesigning Care: A How-To Guide for Hospitals and Health Systems Seeking to Implement, Strengthen and Sustain Telebehavioral Health. The guide supports both hospital and health system efforts in delivering innovative, high-quality telebehavioral health services to patients and communities across the nation.

    “This guide is unique because it is informed by perspectives across clinical care, technology, strategy, and implementation,” said Shantanu Agrawal, M.D., NQF president and CEO. “It gives C-suite leaders, managers and front-line staff the strategies, interventions, and tools needed to make smart decisions, take actionable steps and deliver quality behavioral health care to patients.”

    Telebehavioral health offers tremendous potential to improve patient outcomes and experience by transforming care delivery, overcoming geographic distances and enhancing access to care, particularly in underserved and rural areas or both.

    In addition to actionable strategies and interventions to improve patient outcomes, the how-to guide:

    • Explores the many benefits of telebehavioral health for patients, families, and healthcare professionals alike while recognizing drivers of change and potential challenges
    • Utilizes multistakeholder input from behavioral health directors, front-line clinicians, payers, patient and caregiver advocates, and more to provide tangible, effective strategies for organizational implementation
    • Identifies elements for success, such as community partnerships and staff education, needed to alleviate potential challenges when implementing telebehavioral health

    “Telebehavioral health expands access, improves outcomes and lowers costs,” said Andrew Shin, chief operating officer of the AHA Center for Health Innovation. “Whether a hospital or health system is starting a new service or strengthening existing programs, this guide provides practical guidance for scaling and sustaining innovative models for behavioral health.”

    For more information, please contact qualityinnovation@qualityforum.org.

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