behavioral health consult on computer

Investment results in more access to behavioral health services

It’s no secret among the health care industry that the need for behavioral health services is skyrocketing with more than 43 million American adults experiencing mental illness in a given year. Meanwhile, there aren’t enough psychiatrists and other behavioral health providers available to meet this need.

In June 2017, OSF Ventures, the corporate investment arm of OSF HealthCare, led an investment round in Regroup. The Chicago company provides behavioral health services over live video conferencing technology to health care systems and other providers of mental health services.

We, as a health care organization, were already using the then start-up’s service of providing medication consults to clinicians within primary care clinics over video. The investment came with an expansion of the partnership to include direct clinician to patient service.

In one year’s time, the investment and partnership have proven fruitful for both OSF HealthCare and Regroup. The service is being offered in more facilities across the Ministry, we’ve been able to help the company provide a better product and more importantly, our patients are getting access to a service that’s in high demand across the country.

Helping one another

Not knowing how our patients would react to such a service, Regroup’s system was tested as part of a newly launched TeleBehavioral Health program at the OSF HealthCare Saint Elizabeth Behavioral Health CHOICES Outpatient Clinic in Ottawa. The facility offers comprehensive behavioral health services, but individuals likely had to wait three to six months to see a provider.

From November 2017 to May 2018, OSF Saint Elizabeth was able to reduce the time it takes to see a mental health provider to between one and three weeks through the TeleBehavioral Health program. As a result, it connected 154 patients to psychiatrists in that time frame. Surveys indicate about 90 percent of individuals who saw a mental health provider over video enjoyed the experience.

We have recently expanded the TeleBehavioral Health program at the OSF HealthCare Center for Health – Streator and we plan to deploy the service in Galesburg, Monmouth and Kewanee. We will also soon launch the program in Peoria as part of a $1.1 million state grant to fund a Trauma Recovery Center in partnership with Peoria Public Schools, focusing on survivors of violent crimes. This is a population that rarely receives the support it needs and we are excited for Regroup to help us on this journey.

As our partnership progresses, we continue to help Regroup improve the services it provides. For example, we collaborated with the company to provide e-consults through an electronic medical record, making it easier for psychiatrists to provide case consultations and medical management recommendations. We’ve also consulted with Regroup to streamline its credentialing process for its providers.

An evolving partnership

Our investment in and partnership with Regroup is a great example of why OSF HealthCare chose to get into the venture investment business. Financially supporting startups and entrepreneurs with innovative health care solutions gives us the opportunity to provide valuable input, resolving the inevitable challenges that new technologies encounter as they attempt to bring their products and services to market. We, in turn, get early access to solutions we can shape to meet our needs.

Such is the case with Regroup. We will continue to implement this great tool across our Ministry as the Chicago company continues to expand its offerings and improve on the work it’s already done. In year two of our partnership with Regroup, we’ve decided to re-invest in the company for the second time along with other prior investors, speaking to the progression of the company’s success.

We believe our partnership with Regroup has been a great evolving story on many fronts. Our relationship with them continues to grow and we are excited to see what the future brings.