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Posted By Dayna Riddle On June 5, 2024

Benefits of Mobile Integrated Health for Behavioral Health Organizations

Mobile Integrated Health (MIH) is a transformative approach to healthcare delivery, breaking free from the limitations of a traditional office setting. Instead of confining providers to one location, MIH allows you to bring behavioral health services directly to your clients’ residences and pick up new clients in emergency care situations. MIH helps behavioral health organizations collaborate with EMS, hospitals, paramedics, and police, making mental health services accessible through remote care options. The benefits of Mobile Integrated Health include patient-centered treatment, addressing unmet needs within communities, and providing essential services to vulnerable populations via more accessibility.

Benefits of mobile integrated health EMS

Reduce Strain on EMS, Police, and Overburdened Hospital Systems 

Behavioral Health providers with Mobile Integrated Health services can assist Emergency Medical Services (EMS) professionals and police in serving community health and relieve overburdened hospital systems. When the strain is too great on emergency resources in the community, fewer individuals can receive the help they need. Research shows that 15% of Medicare beneficiaries transported to the Emergency Department by EMS were either non-emergencies or could have been adequately treated by other care providers. If care providers like behavioral health professionals had MIH services, they could take on additional clients from EMS, providing in-house telehealth services. They can offer relief to prevent overfilled hospitals and save clients unnecessary hospital bills. 

Additionally, police officers in some areas regularly encounter individuals experiencing mental health crises, like overdose or suicidal behaviors. Officers spend time transporting these individuals to jails or hospitals, keeping them from attending to public safety emergencies. Suppose police officers can offer these individuals a referral for immediate, remote mental health treatment via telehealth with a behavioral health professional. In that case, more individuals can stay out of local jails. 

With an MIH-supportive EHR solution, providers can gain insight into a new client’s health background, including any history of substance abuse or addiction. They could then take on cases referred to by EMS or police and continue with behavioral health care and a treatment plan with the client moving forward.

Expand behavioral health services with mobile integrated health

Expand Behavioral Health Services

Crisis Calls

Through partnering with EMS, behavioral health providers can quickly help clients in crisis, like those experiencing suicide attempts or overdoses. Round-the-clock, on-call services are on the rise, as is bipartisan support for increasing funding for behavioral health first responders. Now, providers can care for clients in their homes, on the streets, or in hospitals, using telehealth to do check-ups and evaluations even if they’re not physically there.

Partnered Pop-Up Clinics

Another benefit of mobile integrated health that increases your organization’s community reach is through pop-up clinics. By partnering with public health departments or local housing authorities, your organization can gain access to more clients and work together to address social determinants of health in low-income areas. Mental health screening can be offered alongside other services provided to these community members by other organizations going out into the community to provide more accessible care. You just need to telehealth in and have an EHR equipped to provide MIH services that can be accessible anywhere with an internet connection.

Mobile Van Programs

Some behavioral health organizations are starting mobile integrated care units, which utilize vans to provide services in the community. Besides pop-up clinics at specific community locations – you can take your services to the streets where prospective clients live for initial intake and screenings.

School Health

Many schools don’t have the resources to employ a therapist or counselor full-time, so a great option is to utilize mobile health professionals to treat students who need behavioral health services. Behavioral health organizations can provide care to students during the school day through telehealth or a mobile/ pop-up clinic on select days. Choose a FERPA-certified EHR to protect student privacy and be legally compliant for school programs. 

patient centered treatment with mobile integrated health

Patient-Centered Treatment Options

Patient-centered care is a benefit of mobile integrated health. It includes active collaboration between providers and clients and offers options for treatment unique to their needs, including mobile care. These options can provide more accessible alternatives to in-person meetings, especially for those with transportation challenges or immunocompromised individuals. When flexible treatment options are available at the right time, even if the client isn’t physically in your office, their needs are put first, and they can receive the best care. Virtual group therapy sessions can also be provided, which offer the benefits of cultivating a sense of belonging with others undergoing similar treatment therapies, no matter the location.

Accessibility 

Mobile Integrated Health increases accessibility through: 

  • More options for where to receive mental health services
  • Removing the need for transportation if treatment is at their school, at a local community event, or in their neighborhood in a mobile van program
  • Removing the need for transportation if treatment or group therapy is offered via telehealth
  • 24/7 care options through hotlines or text, rather than a clinic only open when clients are working
  • 24/7 care options via referrals from EMS and police, removing unnecessary hospital bills or jail visits

Collaborative, Whole Person Care 

MIH allows the community to work together to provide whole-person care. Organizations like housing services, public health departments, EMS, and schools can call on behavioral health specialists to get a client who needs mental health help seen immediately. A patient portal and electronic consent forms can help with intake.

However, a simple referral to your organization for immediate care may not be enough for a distressed client to receive help in the long term. Mobile Integrated Health continued services through telehealth or pop-up clinics can ensure clients can get the help they need in the most accessible way in the long term. 

Furthermore, with a robust electronic referral system, you can document and track referrals to outside providers or resources, such as WIC, housing, transportation, and food. This allows you to support whole-person care and address Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) to other community services as well. This is how all care providers can work together to ensure that no people fall through the cracks and get all the help they need. Appointment reminders can also be incredibly helpful for your clients so they don’t fall off and can continue their care with you.

About Patagonia Health, Inc.

Patagonia Health designs technology solutions specifically for public and behavioral health. We are committed to delivering award-winning service from implementation to ongoing training and support. For more information about our federally certified software, contact us today.

About Dayna Riddle

Dayna is a marketing associate at Patagonia Health, an Electronic Health Records (EHR) software company serving Public and Behavioral Health departments across the United States. She creates content, manages social media, and assists in marketing strategies, while supporting her efforts with a passion for health.