Daily Briefing – August 8, 2019

“August 07, 2019 – Patients all across the country experience some sort of mental health issue every day. But instead of visiting the doctor like they might for a sprained ankle or chest pains, these individuals face considerable patient access barriers keeping them out of the mental healthcare setting. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) reports that one-in-four individuals experiences a mental illness each year, underscoring a critical need for mental healthcare access across all patient populations. This is a pervasive issue that warrants the kind of attention other chronic diseases often receive. But access to mental healthcare isn’t exactly happening, as millions of Americans are going without access to care, per Mental Health America. That limited care access is not for lack of patient motivation. A 2018 survey from the National Council on Behavioral Health (NCBH) showed that 56 percent of patients want to access a mental healthcare provider, but many face care barriers. Limited health insurance access or in-network care are keeping many patients from visiting a mental healthcare professional. And even when a patient can find an affordable provider who will accept insurance, clinician shortages, fragmented care, and societal stigma are getting in the way of adequate care access.”

“Almost everywhere I go these days, I hear people talking about “evidence-based practices” or “EBPs.” Frequently, the label is used in conversations to lend credibility to a comment about a particular clinical or program intervention; EBPs do open the doors to payment for services. Rarely does anyone mention why the particular practice is an EBP or what evidence undergirds it. Assertions about EBPs have become so common that they are somewhat like the mandatory “How are you?” when greeting a friend or colleague. Ignored almost always in these conversations are the systems, organizations and communities in which the EBP is being deployed. Just a few moments of reflection will help assure you that these latter contexts do have a very potent influence upon whether an EBP actually will work and how well it will work. Hence, they simply cannot be ignored. In reality, much of our current angst in behavioral health is about systems, organizations and communities. For example, how can we deploy a crisis response behavioral care system in a county? How can we integrate primary and behavioral healthcare in a medical home or an accountable care organization? How can we address the social determinants of health in a community? And many more examples also come to mind.”

“Precision medicine startup Progknowse is working with three health systems to use machine learning technology for development of predictive algorithms to provide precision medicine to patients. WHY IT MATTERS The three participating health providers include Baltimore’s LifeBridge Health, St. Luke’s University Health Network in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and Riverside Health System in Newport News, Virginia. Progknowse will use Premier’s PremierConnect platform to access national data sets, which include de-identified clinical outcomes data on approximately 45% of all patient discharges in the U.S. These algorithms can then be used to help advance and personalize treatment based on clinical information, including the individual genetic information of specific patients. Premier’s predictive analytics capabilities are designed to support precision medicine and personalized care delivery, offering to access data sets and genomic information to create a broader healthcare database for data scientists to analyze. By combining the Premier platform and its large database with predictive machine learning models from Progknowse, health systems could be able to better develop and provide precision medicine to their patients. The anonymized clinical and administrative data completely protects the privacy of individuals and Progknowse noted the data is accessed within a secure development space. THE LARGER TREND Precision medicine includes applications across diagnostics, prevention and screening that takes into account individual variabilities in genes, environment, and lifestyle for every individual.”