The familiar quote "History may not repeat itself. But it does rhyme," that is attributed to Mark Twain, is at play in health care again. Behavioral health facilities are experiencing a similar trend that we have seen with Emergency Rooms at hospitals - declining capacity while demand increases. The result is stress on the remaining facilities, over-worked employees and potentially lower satisfaction and adverse outcomes for patients. As the graph below highlights from a blog post in Hospitals & Health Networks (Link to article), psych units at hospitals and psychiatric hospitals have declined by approximately 1/3rd in 15 years.
Behavioral health can impact medical outcomes. How can a health system, provider or patient address reduced access to these services? Telehealth is a great option to connect with behavioral health providers who have capacity to counsel patients who need the support. Several telehealth providers, including our portfolio company MyIdealDoctor launched or scaled behavioral health offerings in 2016. Increased access to behavioral health practitioners can help reduce the costs to the entire health care system.