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Telementoring primary care clinicians to improve geriatric mental health care

February 3, 2017 In the News

Dr. Norma Padrón is co-author of a population health management article, focusing on a remote learning and mentoring program and if it is an effective strategy to address geriatric mental health challenges in rural and under-served communities.

From the abstract:

Health care delivery and payment systems are moving rapidly toward value-based care. To be successful in this new environment, providers must consistently deliver high-quality, evidence-based, and coordinated care to patients. This study assesses whether Project ECHO® (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) GEMH (geriatric mental health)—a remote learning and mentoring program—is an effective strategy to address geriatric mental health challenges in rural and underserved communities. Thirty-three teleECHO clinic sessions connecting a team of specialists to 54 primary care and case management spoke sites (approximately 154 participants) were conducted in 10 New York counties from late 2014 to early 2016. The curriculum consisted of case presentations and didactic lessons on best practices related to geriatric mental health care. Twenty-six interviews with program participants were conducted to explore changes in geriatric mental health care knowledge and treatment practices. Health insurance claims data were analyzed to assess changes in health care utilization and costs before and after program implementation. Findings from interviews suggest that the program led to improvements in clinician geriatric mental health care knowledge and treatment practices. Claims data analysis suggests that emergency room costs decreased for patients with mental health diagnoses. Patients without a mental health diagnosis had more outpatient visits and higher prescription and outpatient costs. Telementoring programs such as Project ECHO GEMH may effectively build the capacity of frontline clinicians to deliver high-quality, evidence-based care to older adults with mental health conditions and may contribute to the transformation of health care delivery systems from volume to value.

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