October 25 2021

Top 3 benefits of integrating primary care and mental health services

By Accolade

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Integrating primary care and mental health support has a host of benefits and is essential to providing high-quality care. Blending these two healthcare components together gives people the healthcare options they need that are also effective, convenient and available when they need it most. 

That’s why we’re combining primary care and mental health support with our Accolade Care solution , to ensure people are getting the help they need and deserve — all while protecting your business’ bottom line. 

Here are the top three benefits on why integrating primary care and mental health support is important for your people and your business. 

Integrated primary care and mental health solutions deliver better diagnoses

“Let’s say you have a patient with diabetes and depression. If they’re tremendously depressed, they’re going to have a hard time checking their blood sugars, maintaining a log or being compliant with their medication,” Dr. Brian Wong, medical director of population health at Accolade, said. 

“This illustrates that  physical and mental health have a symbiotic relationship  and can’t be treated separately.”  

With Accolade Care , we’ve focused on integrating primary care and mental health support with a new, virtual-first approach. 

It goes beyond traditional telehealth services, which tends to focus on urgent or episodic care. Instead, Accolade Care, delivers a true virtual primary care and mental health support experience that takes a holistic approach based on our collaborative care model to ensure people gain access to the care they need, when they need it. 

Our 24/7 Care Team is always available to provide support and our network of top-tier primary care physicians (PCPs) work hand-in-hand with our mental health counselors to break down the silos between physical and mental health. And our providers are available by video, phone or messaging — whatever is most convenient for anyone needing care.

This approach has been so effective that after integrating primary care and mental health support, our members reported a 31% decrease in depression symptoms .  

Comprehensive, whole-person care delivers a better experience, saves on costs

On average, it takes 24 days to schedule an appointment with a primary care physician [1]. These kind of delays in primary care can increase costs and impact optimal health outcomes. And those who don’t have a relationship with a PCP — one in three adults — tend to use high-cost urgent care or specialists more frequently. 

This lack of access to quality care or an established, continuous relationship with a PCP can hurt your people and your business. Over 60% of our members avoided high-cost ER or urgent care visits when using Accolade Care. 

We believe healthcare is a human experience — that’s why Accolade Care is powered by human relationships. Our collaborative care model provides people access to an expansive network of providers and treatment options. People can get same-day appointments or simply speak with a Care Team member to find out where to go for what they need. 

Not only can we make sure that the whole person is supported, but we can also protect your bottom line at the same time. According to a recent independent study, our customers spent an average of 3% less on healthcare after implementing Accolade . Prior to using Accolade’s services, our customers spent about 5% more per member, per year on healthcare than a matched control group. 

Put patients at the epicenter of care

Accolade Care is a true primary care experience built from the ground-up to enable a long-term relationship between people and their PCPs.

We’ve made it a priority to establish long-term relationships between providers and patients. We’re very intentional about strengthening this connection, and we ensure these interactions aren’t short-lived. In fact, our physicians, mental health therapists and specialists accompany each person on every step of their journey. 

“Putting the patient at the center of care should be the focus — it should always be about people and providing the right whole-person care,” Dr. James Wantuck, associate chief medical officer at Accolade, said.

Our integrated care teams include nurses, primary care physicians, health coaches and other clinical specialists to support patients and work together to treat them as a whole person. This empowers people to take the next best step in their healthcare journey. And this approach works: One-third of Accolade Care patients use our services for ongoing chronic care.

With Accolade Care, people receive the care they deserve, when they need it most. They’ll be supported as whole people by integrating their physical and mental health care. 

Find out how implementing a virtual primary and mental health care solution can benefit you. Schedule a demo today.

[1] https://www.merritthawkins.com/uploadedFiles/MerrittHawkins/Content/Pdf/mha2017waittimesurveyPDF.pdf