The Washington State-based Providence health system has created a tele-behavioral health concierge, aiming to grant access to virtual appointments for mental healthcare when and where it is needed.
The program, according to health system officials, provides same-day or next-day access to licensed mental health professionals for help with addressing burnout and other mental health concerns. The impetus for the initiative, they noted, was that burnout rates among healthcare professionals have become a significant issue nationwide. About 44 percent of healthcare providers experience signs of burnout, such as stress, anxiety and depression, according to recent research.
Recognizing the need for greater access to convenient mental health and wellness services, the virtual concierge service is now available to 40,000 employees and family members of Providence organizations and partners across Washington, including Providence Health & Services, Swedish Health Services, Kadlec and Pacific Medical Centers. Providence's remaining family of organizations plan to adopt the service by the end of 2020, making it available to 119,000 employees and their 80,000 to 90,000 dependents across seven states, according to officials.
The concierge began as a pilot several months ago leading to over 1,100 virtual appointments. Initial feedback from program participants further validate the need for greater access to behavioral health services and more convenient solutions, according to health system leaders. Indeed, nearly 50 percent of participants surveyed said they would have not sought professional help if they didn't have access to this service, or known where else to seek help.
"We heal others best when we are healthy ourselves, mind, body and spirit," said Executive Vice President and Chief Clinical Officer Amy Compton-Phillips, M.D. "The Telebehavioral Health Concierge is one way to support the well-being of all who serve in our facilities and communities. We're excited about seeing this innovative service scale and making it available to more people in need."
Telehealth Chief Medical Officer Todd Czartoski, M.D., added, "Growing a virtual care network to improve access across the Western United States is important, because it enables us to deliver tailored care to those struggling to get or find help. The opportunity to care for our own is really special, and we are thrilled to see such a robust response to this service."
Previously, Providence St. Joseph Health partnered with other health systems and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement in an initiative called Joy in Work. Other initiatives offered include mental health first aid classes to train caregivers to appropriately respond to someone in a mental health crisis, scheduled monthly compassion networking calls and the implementation of training and protocols to help address existing and emerging workplace dangers and find ways to reduce them.