The number of people who need help is growing for positive reasons. One reason is that people are more aware of behavioral health conditions and view them as treatable. In the past these conditions have been viewed as limiting or disabling. People tried to keep their struggles a secret and wouldn’t ask for help for fear that someone would find out. Others have indicated that because some behavioral health conditions are chronic and will need to be managed daily is daunting; they would rather continue managing the best they can, hoping it will pass. Now people know that the symptoms will pass sooner with proper strategies and support. Stigma still exists, but it is weakening as people become more aware of how effective treatment can be. And with legislation in recent years require equal coverage for behavioral health conditions as medical conditions and increasing access to health insurance, many more people are seeking care.
In the long run, these are very good things. The challenge we now face is serving everyone who needs care. We have to find a way to increase capacity. We have a severe shortage of mental health providers across the globe. There are plenty of initiatives to get more people into the field and that's a good thing. But those initiatives will take time to have an impact. In the meantime, we need to look closely at ways we can help the people who need help. Synchronous Health has two ways of increasing capacity.
One way we are increasing capacity is by allowing the Specialists we have to do more direct care work, and reduce the amount of time they spend on administrative tasks. We can automate much of their administrative processes and increase their direct care to administrative task ration from 1:1 to up to 3:1. That will result in one Specialist being able to support three times as many people as they could in the past. And we’ll be allowing them to function at their highest and best utility by providing the best quality care and letting technology ease the burden of administration.
Another way increase capacity is by testing dosage of counseling sessions. We already know that 30 minute sessions are as effective as 60 minute sessions. If we operate on that model, we’ve doubled standard capacity. But we’re taking it a step further and seeing how effective 15 minute sessions can be. We’re taking a lesson from our friends in Exercise Physiology who found out that there is no difference in taking one 30-minute walk versus taking three 10-minute walks. We want to know how that translates to behavioral health care. We know that in many cases, someone needs two or three minutes of support to get through a difficult moment. We think we might find combinations of more traditional lengths of sessions in combination with shorter interactions will increase effectiveness. By giving people the right amount of care at the right time, more people will ultimately be able to helped.
Yet another way we are increasing capacity is through developing levels of Specialists that are much more accessible for people to enter into. From high school diplomas to Ph.D.’s, the industry needs people who are compassionate, empathetic and committed to helping others reach their highest potential. We can identify the level of care someone needs and match them to the properly credentialed Specialist. This allows for many more people to get care.
Synchronous Health is committed to help everyone who needs care get it. Whether it’s prevention and early intervention or post-acute care, we can help at whatever level is needed.