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HealthSphere gives a behavioral health provider the full patient view

Patients living with multiple health problems often have trouble understanding their medication, treatment and even their conditions. Many times, they lack health literacy and fail to communicate a complete picture of their health to their doctors. As a result, it's up to their doctors and other practitioners to coordinate care without a full view of the patient's medical history.

It can be challenging for health care professionals to get the information they need to provide informed, holistic care, even more so for behavioral health care providers. HealthSphere, a data system that provides a 360-degree view of a patient's medical history, can help behavioral health providers access the information they need for their patients. Offered by Horizon BCBSNJ to participating providers, it gives providers a complete picture of their patients' health history and care.

HealthSphere at work – improving care coordination

People with mental illness or Substance Use Disorders may be reluctant to see a doctor. As a result, if they suffer from physical health comorbidities, these conditions often go untreated. This has been exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic. These gaps in their care can negatively affect mental and physical health outcomes, because one usually affects the other.

CPC Behavioral Health (CPC) provides mental health care with an integrated approach to treat a patient's overall health and wellness. “At CPC, it's in our culture to treat the whole person and get a complete and thorough medical history,” said Julie Edwards, APN, a family nurse practitioner at CPC.

As a leader in our behavioral health Integrated Systems of Care program (ISC), CPC focuses on ensuring their patients get the holistic care they need – behavioral health care and beyond. That's where HealthSphere comes in.

“Health care can tend to be very fragmented, especially for people who have trouble accessing services because of serious mental illness or Substance Use Disorders. And so we're able to literally put the pieces together with HealthSphere,” said Edwards.

When CPC therapists use HealthSphere to help identify medical or other care issues, they can coordinate with their patients' caregivers and other providers to ensure patients get appropriate care.

“If someone is struggling with bipolar disorder and also has diabetes, and they're not following up with their primary care provider on the diabetes, we're able to stabilize their mental illness to help them engage, and also coordinate with the primary care provider to make sure that the patient is getting the level of care that they need,” Edwards explains.

“That's one way we've been able to leverage the culture of integrated care and the ISC program specifically. We can address their behavioral health needs, and assess what their physical health and social determinants of health needs are, and then make sure that those are weaved into treatment,” said Edwards.

Saving time and eliminating unnecessary testing

Time is of the essence for patients struggling with mental health conditions or Substance Use Disorders. Giving providers the tools to view test results and other clinical information can help improve care coordination and the patient experience while reducing duplicate and costly lab testing. Unnecessary lab testing is even more concerning given the strains on health care systems during the pandemic.

“Lab data in HealthSphere is really helpful because lab services are often duplicated just because it's so difficult to get the information. HealthSphere allows us to prevent unnecessary lab work from happening. We don't have to make the patient go through that whole process again,” said Edwards.

Having access to lab information sooner also helps providers eliminate unnecessary frustrations for their patients and begin treating conditions earlier.

Accessing HealthSphere

HealthSphere merges and organizes clinical patient information collected from health care information sources and systems and makes it available to users. Using HealthSphere to get a full view of the patient's medical history allows providers to identify physical health conditions and recommend additional support services that may be needed. CPC uses HealthSphere in its workflow to complete a comprehensive chart review for patients and uses it regularly for follow-up care.

“It's very user-friendly and intuitive, especially for anyone with experience with an electronic health record,” said Edwards. “It's really beneficial because we just get such a depth of information that we don't get anywhere else.”

HealthSphere is available to participating providers. Learn more.