Regroup

Opportunity

In December 2015, the Behavioral Health CHOICES clinic at  OSF HealthCare Saint Elizabeth Medical Center in Ottawa, Illinois, wanted to ensure its patients had the access they needed to mental health services, no matter where those patients were located. Across the country, rural health providers are struggling to meet the need for behavioral health care. The Health Resources and Services Association has designated over 2,000 rural geographical areas as having a shortage of qualified mental health professionals. More than half of U.S. counties have no mental health providers, leaving individuals across the country with no access to care.

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Solution

Recognizing the growing need for behavioral health among some of our must vulnerable populations, OSF Innovation is opening new doors with Regroup , a digital service that  provides access to care through emerging telehealth technologies. The application of video conferencing to provide mental health services extends the reach and impact of OSF HealthCare providers and opens more access to care in rural communities.

Impact

Through an introductory launch at OSF Saint Elizabeth CHOICES, providers have been able to offer  patients significantly greater and timelier access to the professional care they need, many times within two weeks of receiving a behavioral health referral. Regroup  providers have received positive feedback with 80 percent of patients stating they liked having their appointment over live video and 98 percent responding they felt “heard, understood and supported” through the session. Following an evaluation period, Regroup is expanding to communities in Streator, Illinois, and across the OSF HealthCare Ministry.

“Our collaboration with Regroup allows our patients significantly greater and timelier access to the professional care they need.”

- Cheryl Crowe, director of Behavioral Health Services at OSF

Serving Rural Mental Health needs with Regroup

Recognizing the need for behavioral health care across the region, OSF Innovation has partnered with telehealth provider Regroup to provide clinical-based video counseling and psychiatry services.

According to a 2016 national survey from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, over 6.5 million people in nonmetropolitan counties reported having a form of mental illness. Coupled with the overall shortage of providers and cultural stigmas associated with behavioral health needs, a large portion of the U.S. population has been left without access to the care they need.

In some parts of the country, individuals in need of mental health care may have to wait up to a year from the initial referral before seeing a specialist. In December of 2015, the CHOICES Outpatient Clinic at  OSF HealthCare Saint Elizabeth Medical Center in Ottawa, Illinois, wanted to ensure its patients had the access they needed to mental health services, no matter where they were located. The clinic reached out to OSF Innovation for a solution to meet the needs of both their patients and providers.

OSF Innovation recognized the opportunity to serve the needs of the community through telehealth technologies.

Regroup bridges the gap in behavioral health care by providing virtual staffing of psychiatrists, advanced psychiatric nurses, therapists and other mental health professionals by live video correspondence. Starting in the fall of 2017, OSF HealthCare began offering telepsychiatry services with added providers at OSF Saint Elizabeth.

“Our collaboration with Regroup allows our patients significantly greater and timelier access to the professional care they need.”

- Cheryl Crowe, director of Behavioral Health Services at OSF

Patients in Ottawa are now being offered referral options by their primary care provider to one of our psychiatrists through Regroup  and OSF TeleBehavioral Health.

Patients receiving behavioral health services through Regroup check-in to the primary care clinic as they would for an in-person appointment with their provider. Vitals and medication history are taken by a nurse, and proper documentation is recorded. Patients are then guided to a private room where they meet with their mental health provider through a secure, online video connection.

Patients receive an after-visit summary and schedule follow-up appointments according to the provider’s recommendation. Patients meet with the same credentialed provider for the duration of their treatment.

“We believe that with greater access and more efficient access to the professionals that OSF patients need, it will reduce, hopefully significantly, the need for these patients to access more critical care environments like our emergency rooms.”

- Stan Lynall, vice president of Venture Investments

Results

Through the OSF TeleBehavioral Health program and Regroup, the CHOICES Clinic at OSF Saint Elizabeth has been able to offer patients significantly greater and timelier access to the professional care they need, many times within two weeks of receiving a behavioral health referral. The new behavioral health providers added through Regroup have helped the Ottawa clinic free up resources and increase the number of patients it serves.  In the first two months of the pilot, Regroup providers served 154 visits with patients giving the following feedback:

  • 98.36 percent agreed they “felt heard, understood and supported by my provider in session.”
  • 80.33 percent liked having their appointment over live video connection.

The application of telehealth has greatly expanded the impact of mental health providers, allowing for more flexible scheduling across geographic areas. Based on the implementation of Regroup in Ottawa, OSF Innovation plans to roll out the TeleBehavioral Health program to more primary care clinics and other facilities across the Ministry. By partnering with Regroup, OSF HealthCare is meeting the need for mental health across our region.