Mental Health Provider Uses Technology to Integrate Psychiatric Services

UpLift, which was launched less than a year ago, uses the EHR tool to give patients quick and easy access to an appointment with a psychiatrist during a consultation.

The modular, extensible outpatient electronic medical software platform has allowed the mental health provider to quickly innovate to integrate psychiatry into its offerings.

UpLift, which began in late 2021, uses technology from Canvas Medical, EMR and San Francisco payments to deliver faster, more targeted psychiatric referrals, even allowing therapists to schedule subsequent psychiatric care during self-meeting patients.

The UpLift service delivery model is based on patient-therapist relationships and is delivered 85% virtually and 15% through face-to-face meetings.

“During the video session, the therapist can look at the psychiatrist’s schedule, understand their profile and book an appointment, send them a note and do it at the emergency room,” says Kyle Talcott. , co-founder and CEO of the organization.

This convenience replaces the traditional therapeutic practice of referring patients undergoing mental health treatment to psychiatric directories so that they can sign up for their own follow-up appointments, and helps pre-prepare patients for referral by combining patients with insurance taken by psychiatrists. .

Referrals online now link patients to psychiatrists working at UpLift, but could be extended to other psychiatrists who also take patient insurance, Talcott says.

As a result of the next admission of therapists working with UpLift, “we have a very low absenteeism rate, especially compared to [other] mental health providers, ”he says.

The key technology tools are the application programming interfaces (APIs) included in the Canvas EMR, which allow the UpLift technology team to organize desired features such as psychiatric referrals in sessions.

At a time when America is facing a crisis in demand for mental health services and a shortage of qualified therapists, the UpLift textbook must innovate in quick ways to meet this need. The platform allows the company to appeal to a growing number of therapists who have given up working in large healthcare systems and networks.

“We started really focused on tackling the pain point of finding a network therapist,” Talcott says. “So we work on both sides, both involving therapists in our virtual group practice and then helping them to actually register, gain credentials and contract with big health plans in the area.”

UpLift contracts with about 500 therapists, and its growth strategy is regional in nature. It now offers services in the District of Columbia, Virginia and Maryland, Talcott says, and will expand to Florida in March.

The company also appeals directly to consumers, working with local providers to help patients find therapists online.

The integration of psychiatric services adds some basic features that require psychiatrists, in addition to what therapists can do, such as e-prescriptions and some EMR components. The Canvas API has made this integration smoother than any other alternatives evaluated by UpLift, Talcott says

Talcott says his history with digital healthcare startups has left him with the impression that many continue to rebuild the same components, thereby slowing down innovation. The Canvas platform, he said, has allowed UpLift to achieve the necessary data integration and automation faster.

“For us, the opportunity to introduce some of these components, which are very complex, you could do some integration, but it would take a long time,” he says. “The fact that we were able to introduce them through several standardized APIs that were prepared allowed us to accelerate. We were able to start psychiatry in almost a month. “

The use cases for therapists and psychiatrists are different enough that UpLift has had to optimize each use case. For example, psychiatrists must be registered and accredited in every health plan that supports UpLift.

“Some take longer than others, so when someone looks at a schedule, it’s actually the right psychiatrist for them,” Talcott says.

The technology also helps select patients for the right therapist, he adds.

“As this patient path continues, information is exchanged between the two providers, which has historically not been the case in mental health,” he says.

Traditionally, the patient consults a psychiatrist who can prescribe medication. Patients can return to a psychiatrist only once a quarter, while they continue to visit their therapists weekly, Talcott says.

If a therapist experiences some problems or side effects with medications prescribed by a psychiatrist, the UpLift platform can send this information to a psychiatrist, who can adjust the medication or dosage between psychiatric appointments, Talcott says.

Although originally offered as a paid service, the UpLift model provides for a shift to value-based assistance.

“Our goal is to move to total risk over time,” Talcott says. “Planning health plans is very early, especially in the broader mental health field. We are now in talks with various health plans about how we are building a bridge to overall risk.”

The company is also considering integrating pharmacists into its care team, he says.

“Having a pharmacy can understand the effects of all these drugs is very important,” Talcott says. Such a model, he notes, could become more practical if the service shifts from paid to cost-based service contracts.

Scott Mace is the author for HealthLeaders.

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