CASE STUDY: iTether Responds to Behavioral Health Providers’ Pleas to Reduce No-Shows With Fully Integrated, Vidyo-Based Telehealth Solution

© Vidyo, Inc.

Challenge 

iTether is a behavioral healthcare management platform that is sold to healthcare providers and payers, enabling them to offer patients and members both population-based and personalized treatment plans to address issues across the behavioral health spectrum. The digital platform is integrated into a mobile application in which patients can fully immerse themselves. The content includes health-literacy courses; a patient’s goals, assessments, appointments, activities, and other resources designed to deliver real-time care, improved outcomes, and generate feedback. The logic embedded in the assessment tools can trigger predefined alerts and required actions by clinical staff.

In 2017, Sean Gunderson, iTether’s CEO and cofounder, identified two drivers that led him to pursue a video-chat component to the platform:

iTether’s providers lamented the high patient no-show rates they were experiencing, the associated counselors’ downtime, and the resulting lost revenue.

Video technology, messaging, and video content courses being delivered asynchronously were not billable —– only synchronous telehealth was billable. (Asynchronous offerings will become billable by CMS in 2019.)

Gunderson believed that if iTether could add a quick, easy, and affordable virtual solution to its platform, then clients could use this enhanced platform to drive down the no-show rates.

In early 2018, Gunderson and Wes Hodges, iTether’s CTO, considered various video vendors — including Vidyo — with SDKs. They looked for a partner who:

  • Had a sophisticated API that supports multiple coding languages (including C# for mobile, Java Script, and Xamarin) and with which iTether could work and grow.
  • Offered bandwidth support for mobile users with limited data plans or located in remote areas.
  • Had an established customer base and a secure future.
  • Had a genuine interest in iTether’s mission.

Solution

In the summer of 2018, Gunderson and Hodges chose Vidyo’s vidyo.io API. vidyo.io’s ease of use and fast development time, the solution’s bandwidth throttling that maintains a consistent communication signal for all users, and Vidyo’s very helpful sales and engineering team were the primary reasons that drove their decision.

“I was very surprised by how easy the Vidyo solution was to implement versus some of the other video vendors that we considered. We had expected much more work to configure and implement Vidyo into our platform,” Hodges said. 

For an iTether Vidyo session, a provider launches a video call from the patient record within the iTether web-based clinical portal. The patient receives a link on their mobile app to join the call.

Results

iTether trained its staff and clients on using the Vidyo solution, then conducted a soft launch with four customers in September 2018. The company expects to officially launch the telehealth-enhanced platform – which features HIPAA-compliant video – in the first quarter of 2019. With the Vidyo solution, the company will provide an integrated telehealth solution within a whole care management platform, relieving providers from having to use a separate standalone solution – including billing – for the telehealth session.

When a patient informs a facility that he or she will not make an appointment – even if that individual calls at the last minute – the provider can propose and immediately launch an on-the-spot telehealth session.

“Our telehealth solution offers a very strong ROI for our customers given they use our platform to reduce no-shows,” Gunderson said. “But it’s really about a better quality of care for the patient and the provider. When a clinician can meet immediately with an individual, they can prevent that patient from ending up in the ED/ER or in an adverse situation with law enforcement.”

According to Gunderson, the Vidyo solution also helps iTether acquire new customers. “When prospects see the ROI on the telehealth component – plus all of the other valuable components they get from our care management solution – that more than pays for our platform.”

iTether management initially thought that implementing video technology into its platform would be difficult to do. But Gunderson said, “We would’ve done this a year earlier if we’d known how quickly we could’ve integrated it. We’re very pleased with our partnership with Vidyo.”

Future Opportunities 

iTether is looking to use the Vidyo solution for internal meetings because management believes that the video technology will be an effective collaboration tool for the company’s support staff. 

Additionally, iTether is working on a Vidyo solution that will allow providers to conduct group video counseling sessions while protecting the identity and privacy of the participating patients. 

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iTether Proving it’s Worth – Transforming Care for Pregnant Women with Substance Use Disorder

iTether Technologies, provider of application development for behavioral change services, wins Phase 1 of Addressing Opioid Use Disorder in Pregnant Women and New Moms, a Grand Challenge created by The Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB). 

Phase 1 winners were chosen based on 5 main criteria: Accessibility – How accessible is the innovation to the population of focus and across social, cultural, and environmental factors; Sustainability – How encouraging is it to use and how well does it fit into daily life; Impact – How well does the applicant present a theory of change; Innovation – How likely is the proposed solution to succeed; and lastly, the overall projects potential in the remaining phases of the challenge. 

iTether Technologiesdelivers a comprehensive care management solution that extends care beyond the clinic and drives data-driven decisions across the continuum of care. The purpose is to continuously engage patients (in this case, perinatal women with OUD) with multiple care professionals to coordinate treatment with personalized recovery goals for successful delivery and post-natal care for the baby and mother. With a flexible, easy to use mobile application, iTether supports the patients control over her treatment with features such as calendaring and events, reminders, patient-provider messaging, educational resources and social determinants of health, and social media support systems. 

The death rate from opioid overdoses among women is dramatically increasing, and furthermore, so is the chance of a baby being born with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). In 2018 alone, 1,443 babies were born with NAS. These women and their prospective children are part of a national crisis of chronic and complex physical and mental health challenges that needs to be better addressed. HRSA’s goal with this challenge is to support innovative technology-based solutions that improve access to quality health care for pregnant and new mothers struggling with opioid use disorder (OUD). The challenge entrants included multidisciplinary teams of academics, health professionals, technology companies, IT designers, as well as individuals, community groups, and startups. 

As a Phase 1 winner, iTetherwill receive a share of $100,000 cash prize and continue to Phase 2, where they will develop their prototype and begin small-scale testing through August 2019. For more information about HRSA’s challenge, visit Addressing Opioid Use Disorder in Pregnant Women and New Moms.

Making a Difference in Recovery

Mental and substance use disorders affect all communities nationwide, but with commitment and support, people suffering from these disorders can achieve healthy lifestyles and lead rewarding lives in recovery. The focus of National Recovery Month this September is to celebrate their journey with the theme Join the Voices for Recovery: Invest in Health, Home, Purpose, and Community. It spreads the message that behavioral health is essential to one’s overall wellness, and that prevention works, treatment is effective, and people recover.

We believe the first step in the fight against mental illness and substance abuse starts by transforming the way treatment is delivered to patients.

Healthcare providers are often the first contact for addressing behavioral health needs. However, there are not enough providers, resources, or time to tackle these issues head on. With only one mental health professional per every 529 individuals with a behavioral health condition, there is a critical opportunity to incorporate better prevention and treatment services into your practice.

By leveraging technology with integrated care, healthcare providers can stress less and care more. iTether delivers a HIPAA compliant, mobile enabled platform that makes it easy to manage and measure treatment plans so that you can engage with your patients, provide the best patient-centered, and achieve positive results.


The iTether Care Coordination Platform

Most people in treatment say that the programs don’t offer services that would make the biggest differences. Whether it’s appointment reminders, social determinant resources, or our built in, data-driven analytics, iTether supports the needs of each individual.

Proven outcomes

Evidence based practices are often only proven to work for one scenario, but not every patient should be treated the same. For an effective treatment plan, a provider should understand the importance of individual needs and be able to link an evidence-based approach to the real-world situation.

Treating the whole person

Current treatments don’t supply building blocks of life. Patients in recovery need better access to social determinant resources to help get them past the barriers of living a normal life. They need greater flexibility and to stay engaged even when they are in their own environment. The battle is won in their everyday life, not just in the clinic.

You can make a difference

Recovery Month is about coming together to improve the lives of those affected by mental and substance use disorders. Together, we can work to support recovery, implement preventive measures, recognize the signs of a problem, and guide those in need to appropriate treatment and support services. You have the power to change how the industry supports those experiencing mental and substance use disorders.

We’d love to hear from you! What are you currently doing to manage and build your patient relationships?

Schedule a demo to see how iTether can help you and your patients become more successful on the road to recovery.

 

Related Resources:

SAMHSA

About Recovery Month

Statistics and Data Visualizations

Videos:

Justice Intervention: Bringing Services to Scale

Taking on the Opioid Crisis: Aligning Federal, State, and Local Responses

Watch more episodes here

There are a variety of training resources to support health care providers seeking to implement quality care for patients they serve who have mental and substance use disorders. Below is a list of informational, educational, and training resources to learn how to make behavioral health a key component of patient care.

American Academy of Family Physicians – Mental Health Clinical Recommendations & Guidelines: Provides guidelines for family doctors on treating and preventing behavioral health conditions

American Society of Addiction Medicine Education: Provides training and educational resources to health care professionals who wish to incorporate evidence-based substance use disorder treatment and prevention services into their practice

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Mental Health: Features strategies for taking an evidence-based, public health approach to recovery

National Council for Behavioral Health Healthcare Practice Improvement: Provides resources for implementing behavioral health into primary care practice

National Institute on Drug Abuse: Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition): Discusses the unique needs of pregnant women with substance use disorders

National Institute on Drug Abuse: Medical & Health Professionals: Lists strategies for health care professionals on treating and preventing substance use disorders

Office of the Surgeon General’s 2016 Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health: Details substance use statistics and the impacts on American citizens and health care systems

 

iTether Technologies Wins 2018 Progress App Innovation Award

iTether Technologies is proud to announce that we have been chosen as the winner of the Progress App Innovation Awards for the Best Healthcare App/Solution. The Progress App Innovation Awards showcase game-changing business applications and digital experiences.

We are honored to be considered among the leaders in digital health innovation and a driving force of MHealth app adoption. A good provider/patient/payor relationship is multi-faceted and today it’s a patient as a consumer landscape where providers need to extend care beyond the clinic.

Check out the full press release here.

 

 

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