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Doctor Shortage: Mental Health

March 28, 2017

An estimated deficit of over 20,000 licensed behavioral health clinicians is causing havoc for people who need services through a doctor shortage.  Over half of American counties lack a licensed mental health doctors creating a health shortage.

mental health doctor shortage

To build up the capacity for this specialized area would require years and years of practice, studying, and practicums. The fact of the matter is that there is an extreme need as more than half of people with behavioral health issues are not receiving any form of care.

Additionally, according to a report from H&HN from 2016, there is actually a dwindling number of overall licensed behavioral health clinicians as many are starting to retire or move to other professional pursuits. The aging population of America is also requiring more mental health support, which causes more difficulties to the doctor shortage.

Exacerbating The Doctor Shortage

The epidemic of opioid crisis and substance abuse is only adding gasoline to the fire of the behavioral health doctor shortage.

mental health doctor shortage

There is a salient void in the continuum of care whereby people battling mental health conditions are not able to see the trained professionals.

What could fix this?

At Prevail, we think that technology is a part of the solution to help provide a certain level of care to a large population, and then from there triage those who need higher level services to the trained doctors who have limited time, especially with the doctor shortage.

The analogy to Prevail’s model is calling a business these days. Traditionally, each business would have a person who could pick up the phone and direct you to the information or person you were searching for. As businesses continued to grow, and the ubiquitous nature of phones arrived, this model became too expensive.

Companies have started using automated phone tree models to solve this situation. The automated phone tree can answer the basic information for the person, and subsequently connect them to the person they require. Sometimes people only need the hours or the address—simple information that a human does not need to provide.

Solving the Mental Health Doctor Shortage

Similarly, Prevail’s technology-based digital behavioral health solution casts a wide net through its low-cost structure to touch a lot of people who might be battling a mental health condition. By providing immediate, on-demand care through Prevail Peers, people who have gone through Prevail’s program and came back to help the next group, Users on Prevail receive immediate help.

For those people who still need higher level care outside of the peer to peer chat model, Prevail has interactive, personalized, and dynamic cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) lessons that were built with a leading team of doctors throughout the country. The lessons help to teach the User to have a deeper understanding of their thoughts, behaviors, and emotions.

Surrounding the interactive lessons is a robust network of tools, resources, and community that enable someone to live a better, happier, and healthier life.

Prevail’s technology has gone through published clinical trials showing that it as effective as face-to-face care, but at 99% less cost.

Carefully Managing Doctor Shortage

There is still a fraction of Users who have a higher level need, and Prevail’s technology is able to responsibly flag this segment of the population connecting them to a licensed doctor either through telehealth or to schedule a face-to-face. With the doctor shortage, only passing through those with highest level of needs is completely rational.

Interested to find out more on how Prevail could help to increase access to care in your population, while driving down overall healthcare costs? Find out more on Prevail here, or iPrevail with a health quiz here.

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