What's Getting in the Way of Access to Mental Health Resources?
Mental illness represents 23% of the global disease burden. With 1.6 million Canadians reporting unmet mental health care needs, it is estimated that by 2020, depression had become the leading cause of disease in the country.[i] Across the healthcare sector, a lack of coordinated services exacerbates this problem. A study in Ontario found that parents seeking help for a child reported contacting, on average, five different agencies and receiving two different treatments for their mental illness. Mental health care is highly complex. Patients may experience multiple issues simultaneously, and the spectrum of care needs and available resources is broad. Health care providers assess patients and then make recommendations or referrals without a standardized process or access to a comprehensive directory of resources. For patients and caregivers navigating the fragmented continuum of care, the process is frustrating and confusing. They must repeat their stories with each new provider, sometimes getting lost in the handoffs between them. Manual processes for follow-up and ambiguous eligibilities can then result in delays and unrealistic waitlists. Those with complex or chronic mental health conditions may end up relying on hospitalization while they wait to access services, leaving them vulnerable to infection and occupying a resource misaligned to their level of care needs. For patients waiting – either in community or hospital – progress towards their care goals stalls and caregivers bear the burden of care. At home, this often falls to parents juggling either their own care needs or full-time careers. In hospital, this ties up resources with patient flow repercussions leading back through to the Emergency Department front door. That is why Strata Health’s innovative digital solution, Strata PathWays, is designed to help patients and care providers navigate the continuum of care. Features include:
  • Decision support for care providers via a recommendation algorithm that offers:
    • A directory of available services, with inclusion and exclusion criteria
    • Multiple filtering options to narrow down available treatment
    • A configurable depiction of relative performance comparing wait times, ratings, and other data elements to help guide selection
  • A configurable workflow engine, supporting:
    • Bi-directional communication between stakeholders
    • Packages of care with mixed delivery methods
      • In person / virtual
      • Outpatient / inpatient (placement)
      • Scheduled / unscheduled
    • Intake a triage queues and handoffs
    • Prioritization and legislative compliance
  • Customizable minimum data sets, ensuring referral information is:
    • Complete and legible
    • Consistent within the clinical pathway
    • Current and via shared source of truth
Strata PathWays software results in greater continuity and coordination of care, reduced patient-safety risk in transitions of care, and optimized referral patterns. Other benefits include reductions in wait times, more efficient processes for clinicians throughout the workflow and more equity in access through transparency. Tackling the challenges in the Mental Health sector requires collaboration and coordination. If you are unsure where to start, contact us today for a free consultation. Read more from Strata Health:
  1. Strata Health and the Ontario Psychological Association Join Forces to Improve Access and Navigation to Psychological Services
  2. The Time Is Now: Improving Access to Mental Health Services

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