Why Brief Care Management?

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

A growing body of evidence shows that telephonic care management  for chronic mental illness as an adjunct to usual care, has a favorable impact on treatment compliance, outcomes and cost. PsychCoverage call data indicates that the overwhelming majority of after-hours clinical calls fit into one or more categories of the Chronic Care Model i.e. safety, education, treatment compliance and care coordination. This has led to an awareness that these usually brief interactions with patients can be seen in an entirely new and innovative way. The safety of patients posing a danger to themselves or others will always be our highest priority, but we have come to realize that we can also have a significant impact on the majority of patients calling in with less emergent concerns.

This much larger group of patients, when seen through the lens of a chronic disease risk stratification, often meet the definition of an acuity 1 or high risk/high priority patient. Typically, they are patients presenting with an unmanaged symptom or side effect which poses a risk to treatment adherence or patient safety, that in the absence of an immediate intervention can lead to an adverse event or an otherwise avoidable ER visit or hospitalization. A rapid response and supportive prn follow up on these calls can make a great deal of difference in both short and long term outcomes as well as patient satisfaction scores. We certainly don’t see our model of after-hours support as a substitute for a fully implemented Care Management program involving proactive outbound calls. It clearly is not. It is, however, an innovative way to engage the most at risk patients at the moment they are most receptive to intervention. A welcome occasion in the world of chronic disease management. In addition to addressing the issue that prompted the call, we view after hours calls as opportunities to have a longer lasting impact by identifying and addressing deficits in mental health literacy, improving treatment adherence through medication teaching and coordinating care with a feedback loop to you as the treating provider for continuity.

In addition to the obvious benefit to your patients, the addition of PsychCoverage services can also enhance the image of your practice and help to support the boundaries you’ve established, while preserving your downtime as a work free zone. The positive feedback you’ll receive from your patients and their family members will give you the confidence you need to fully unwind during your hours of free time, knowing that your patients are in good hands with PsychCoverage.