For quite some time, Commonwealth Pain & Spine, with 12 locations in Indiana and Kentucky, struggled with how to most efficiently and effectively address the mental health needs of its patients suffering from debilitating chronic pain.
Staff witnessed the effects on their patients daily, and they have a commitment to offering truly comprehensive pain management. Staff recognized the struggle of living with chronic pain each day and how that daily struggle takes a toll on patients’ overall mental wellbeing.
As a healthcare organization, Commonwealth aims to help its patients in unique and creative ways that will generate better long-term results. It strives to deliver safe, responsible and clinically proven treatments for the best pain-relief care. Circumstances quickly made it apparent that Commonwealth needed to connect the dots between physical health and mental health.
Commonwealth turned to health IT vendor NeuroFlow’s mobile and web-based application, which to the healthcare organization seemed to help connect those dots between physical and mental health in an affordable and manageable way.
“They offered us a program that easily begins the conversation of how our patients’ pain affects their overall mental wellbeing, with easy mobile activities that our patients could do from the comfort of their home,” said Jeff Ellison, COO at Commonwealth Pain & Spine. “With the added benefit that patients could earn gift cards with the points they collected from completing their activities.”
“This data uploads directly into our EHR. It has connected the dots, tracking progress and adjusting treatment plans in real time.”
Jeff Ellison, Commonwealth Pain & Spine
Just as easily, that data would be quantified for Commonwealth. It would integrate directly into the provider’s EHR, and the data collected would be available for physicians to review before or during the patient’s next office visit. This would prove an excellent launching point for future in-house behavioral health systems, Ellison remarked.
MEETING THE CHALLENGE
The vendor ensured the integration was seamless, Ellison said. It was available for questions or concerns before and after the launch, and ready to help with any obstacles Commonwealth faced, he added. As a busy practice, it’s imperative that vendors are trusted partners and can do the heavy lifting in a very professional and collaborative way, he said.
“With NeuroFlow, our patient-generated insights are based on mood scores, pain ratings, sleep habits and journals,” he noted. “This data uploads directly into our EHR, and our physicians can review before or during the patient’s next appointment. It has connected the dots, tracking progress and adjusting treatment plans in real time.”
The new software gives patients tools to check in daily on how they are doing. Patients can see how their mood score directly relates to their pain score. The system has proven to be an invaluable service to patients, Ellison stated. Specifically, it gives staff the opportunity to track pain scores on a daily basis in between face-to-face encounters, not just at static monthly intervals, he explained.
Using the software, Commonwealth was able to help 59% of patients reduce depression symptoms in the first three months. This was achieved because of strong engagement numbers, as patients completed more than 3,400 assessments in 90 days and an average of 34 activities per patient in the first month.
ADVICE FOR OTHERS
“Technology and mobile engagement give a healthcare organization an easy and affordable way to begin to address mental health, even when they may not employ a mental health provider,” Ellison advised.