In one sense, the term, “Meeting people where they are,” is about giving others what they need when they need it. For us at Certintell, it’s precisely that. And, it’s more literal. It also means connecting with people in the spaces they occupy by leveraging technology to virtually provide medical, health and educational services and support for underserved populations. It’s especially crucial within the realms of behavioral health.

According to the CDC, 43.4 million adults experienced some behavioral health issue in 2015 alone. Such issues may be related to depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, substance abuse, or something more circumstantial like grief over a loss or trouble adjusting to a life change. Left untreated, it affects a person’s ability to work, create and nurture relationships, and contribute to their community.

Certintell is instrumental in addressing these issues. Our founder, Benjamin Lefever, has first-hand experience with letting mental health needs go unmet. It’s the driving force behind our company’s mission.

Benjamin’s brother is a veteran (one among millions) in need of psychotherapy. He resides in rural Indiana, where access to behavioral health care is limited. He’s not alone. In fact, the severe shortage of mental health professionals across the U.S. (especially in rural areas) is deeply concerning. A new study in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine finds 65 percent of non-metropolitan counties lacking a psychiatrist and nearly 50 percent lacking a psychologist. Accepting the shortage in the hopes that it will simply go away is not an option for Certintell.

One App Delivers Three Possibilities

Leveraging technology led Certintell to develop JoinCareTeam™ – a HIPAA and PHI-compliant, cloud-based telehealth platform that offers three possibilities for improving access to behavioral health services. Providers can engage patients in the comfort of their homes through multiway video, remote patient monitoring and a care coach dashboard.

Multiway video: allows for the live interaction of multiple individuals (patients, providers and caregivers) remotely using audiovisual telecommunications technology. This type of technology is also known as “real-time.” Use live-video for consultative, diagnostic and treatment services. Imagine patients being able to see and communicate with caregivers, a primary care physician and specialist(s), simultaneously.

Remote patient monitoring (RPM): uses electronic communication technologies to gather personal health and medical data from an individual and transmit it to providers in a different location for use in care delivery and related support. Health care providers can track patient data upon the release to home or a care facility following a hospital stay. The result is reduced readmittance rates, and individuals can remain healthy in their homes and communities without having to physically visit a provider’s office. This creates patient monitoring that doesn’t require travel time, expense and office or clinic wait times.

Mobile care coach platform: engages patients with recovery-promoting behaviors and collects valuable data about their health status through the use of mobile devices such as cell phones or tablet computers. A wide range of information can be communicated from targeted text messages promoting healthy behaviors to wide-scale alerts about disease outbreaks. This encourages and educates patients wherever they are through the technology they are already comfortable using.

Improving access to care also makes it possible to address other public health crises closely correlated with behavioral health, such as drug abuse and suicide. An unwillingness or inability to travel and difficulty keeping appointments are the most common barriers to obtaining care and support. These barriers are removed and people can begin to heal with the assistance of a knowledgeable, caring and integrated team. The result is patients who are more engaged, have an increased likelihood of implementing follow-up actions, and experience less stigmatized care that’s more cost-efficient.