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September 8: Today on TownHall Solome Tibebu, Founder & Host of Going Digital: Behavioral Health Tech speaks with Snezana Mahon, Chief Operating Officer at Transcarent about a more holistic approach to engaging with employees about their health coverage. What does she see as the largest challenges in providing behavioral health? How do they engage with rural and underserved communities? What methods can be used to reduce the stigma of using the health services provided?

Sign up for our webinar: Challenges and Solutions to Unmanaged Devices in Healthcare - Thursday September 8, 2022: 1pm ET / 10am PT. If we had to troubleshoot just a few devices every once in a while, our hospital systems would run as smooth as butter, right? But when missing devices, security issues and friction caused by interoperability hits, we can’t expect a smooth operation. Our webinar will answer many questions surrounding the devices integral to keeping patients healthy. 

Sign up for our webinar: Patient Room Next: Improving Care Efficiency - Thursday September 29, 2022: 1pm ET / 10am PT. Traditional patient rooms involve sitting on the table, waiting, tentative knocks on the door. We’re redefining the way we look at patient rooms. We’re reimagining the future. Hear about technological tools that have been explored and implemented for clinician effectiveness, how to step into the “Patient Room Next” future, and the progress in our Nation’s health systems regarding PRN. Bring your hospital system into tomorrow with sound advancements and peace of mind. We’re looking to advance healthcare, and we know you are too.

Transcript

This transcription is provided by artificial intelligence. We believe in technology but understand that even the smartest robots can sometimes get speech recognition wrong.

Today on This Week Health.

You take this holistic and longitudinal approach, that you have levers. To be able for them to draw on and support themselves in their individual care journeys. And I cannot emphasize that enough is that everyone's care journey is unique and it cannot be just a broad stroke approach

I have a singular solution. It should work for everyone won't.

Welcome to This Week Health Community. This is TownHall a show hosted by leaders on the front lines with interviews of people making things happen in healthcare with technology. My name is Bill Russell, the creator of This Week Health, a set of channels designed to amplify great thinking to propel healthcare forward. We want to thank our show sponsors Olive, Rubrik, Trellix, Medigate and F5 in partnership with Sirius Healthcare for investing in our mission to develop the next generation of health leaders. Now onto our show.

Hi, I'm Sola ma Timbo. I'm the founder of going digital behavioral health tech. And I am really excited to be on with Dr. Za man today. Chief operating

officer at

transparent welcome SNA, such a pleasure to be here with you.

Thank you so much for having me.

So why don't we get started with just a little bit about your background?

You've had such the exciting path into healthcare innovation, and I would love our audience to learn a little bit more about your experience and what brought you into this space.

Great. So a little bit about me. I'm actually a pharmacist by training. I spent my first retail pharmacist experience journey at Walgreens pharmacy for about seven years and then transitioned out a retail pharmacy into the business side of pharmacy.

So about 15 years ago, I joined pharmacy benefits manager, express scripts, one of the three largest pharmacy benefits managers in the country. And it really had a lot of experiences across those 15 years, all the way from being responsible for government programs, business, Medicare, Medicaid exchange experiences, building clinical programs, solutions, engagement strategies with consumers, and then eventually moved into more of an operational.

Sales roles as well as the last six years really spent running all of product and clinical product in particular, really understanding the different needs of the consumer all the way from not just on the drug side, formulary and utilization management solutions and adherence solutions, but really also understanding the medical benefit management side and as well as behavioral and mental health, which is so important from a whole person health standpoint.

And so really passionate about that space. That then ultimately about a year ago led me here to transparent as the chief operating officer, where I get the privilege and the responsibility to really build and redefine a completely different longitudinal, holistic and integrated care experience that spans the spectrum of medical pharmacy, behavioral, and really treat every single member at the center, giving them all the tools and services that they need to be really effective in their day to day life and managing their health.

So thrilled to be having this conversation with you.

Wow. Well, I definitely have a lot more questions about that, your approach. But why don't we set the stage a little bit with what employers are facing right now? I know that they, many of them, of course, the last couple of years, especially have been recognizing the need for stronger behavioral health programs for their employees and employees, families.

But what do you see as the largest challenge in behavioral health for employers? Right.

Oh, there's too many to name. And I actually have the opportunity to talk to all of the largest. Self-insured employers across the country almost every week. And really what we're hearing from all of them is multi-dimensional the first challenge that we hear from employers is COVID and the pandemic has really had a tremendous impact on their population and what their employees are looking for.

And the number one answer is I just need more. And when they dig deeper and ask their employees, what about that more, what are you looking for? The spectrum really. By clients, by geography by type of work that their employees are facing with. And the type of support that they're asking for some of the employers are adamant that their number one need that is still outstanding is access.

Access to care still continues to be a challenge. And in particular, around the number of days that a employee has to wait to get the. It is a challenge for them. We also hear from a lot of employers that they're still grappling and struggling with substance use disorder. And in fact, it has actually been exacerbated by the pandemic and they're looking for additional support in that substance use disorder space.

Some are also looking for additional support services around on demand. Self-service help. How do I get more digital cognitive behavioral therapy in the hands of my employees? So they, can take care of themselves with stress management, resilience management, off work hours during work hours. And then there's others that are looking for all of the above where they're saying I'm struggling with everything.

And I've actually deployed a number of point solutions in the last two years. But I still need more. Whether that's, access to medications, access to therapy, access to digital or in person. And I kind of want everything wrapped in a bow, any singular solution that my members can access even entry point.

So it really depends by the employer how aggressively they have managed the behavioral health, needs of their population, but. There isn't a single employer that you would ask right now that does not have this at least in their top three list of priorities as they head into the 20, 23 benefit year.

And it's definitely an important key topic that they all want to provide more support for their members.

Wow. Yeah. That's I mean, Hopefully as we're coming out of COVID, but the reality is, I mean, the impacts of COVID are going to be ongoing, especially for people's mental health. So mm-hmm, in some ways not surprising.

But what I took from that is it sounds like there's just a lot of diversity in mm-hmm companies that you work with. And can you talk a little bit about how are they supporting employees who are in rural communities, underserved communities? I mean, do you think digital behavioral health can really help all individuals?

Great question. And I think it goes back to the access piece too. Access continues to be a pretty large problem across the board. And especially when you look at the rural communities, I mean, We have clients who live in the largest metropolitan areas and they struggle with access let alone. What they've also now seen is as part of the pandemic, a lot of the employee workforce has actually migrated to other parts of the country they no longer had to be in the office. People moved to other remote areas across the country. And as an employer, they want to continue to provide pretty equitable care across the board, across the nation where they want to retain the talent. So they're letting them be remote. They're letting them work in a variety of different areas where now the healthcare system.

May not be as present or as prevalent as what they may have had in their sort of concentrated office, metropolitan areas that they have had. And so digital obviously is a key, aspect that can help. And it also, once again, varies by the employer and the employee type. So if an employer has.

Depending on the age bracket of their employee population how prevalent it is for them to digitally engage, right? We've all moved into zoom world zoom land where it's pretty natural for you to engage in a digital fashion. Everyone has a cell phone in that employee population. It is a really great tool.

And we have seen a tremendous uptake in the utilization of what we call these digital self-service tools, where you can help at night, calm yourself down, get sleep strategies of how do I put myself asleep? How do I really help navigate, some basic needs and how I manage my stress and how do I can be more resilient at work and prevent burnouts.

Those are all elements that are really important. But then on the flip side, you also have a. lot of Employees and member populations that you do still need that very hands on sort of local support where they do rely on the community. And it's not just a singular provider in the community. And I think we would be kidding ourselves to think that digital can solve all of our problems.

Digital is a definitely an avenue. To help enhance and optimize the way we engage with the member, especially for follow up care and some of the initial care, but members still like to have that personal connection and having somebody maybe that they would be able to see in person. And so how do we continue to drive and identify those access points, giving the consumer the information These are the providers in your geography? Yeah. You may have to travel 10 or 20 miles to get to them, but here's who is available. Here's somebody who's a high quality provider. And how do you give them all of the information to be able to get that care? So I would say it's a hybrid world. Definitely digital has helped and saved quite a few employers and members across the board by increasing that access point by using digital cognitive behavioral therapy and having telehealth telepsychiatry,

psychologist visits getting those appointments, but it certainly can never be a total replacement in terms of how members want to seek care. And we seek to deliver sort of that hybrid mode where when appropriate, when relevant. Digital should always be that go-to method as that primary sort of entry point.

And then if somebody does need to get some additional supporting care than how do you enable that in the local community as well? And of course, rural is definitely that all of us has top of mind as well.

We'll go back to our show in just a moment. I wanted to take this opportunity to invite you to our next two webinars. On September 8th, we're gonna have challenges and solutions to unmanaged devices in healthcare. This is a significant problem in healthcare, and here we're gonna discuss the tools that are obviously integral to delivering health, but are sometimes some of the most vulnerable tools we have.

In the health system, guests are gonna come from leaders from children's of Los Angeles and Intermountain, and they're gonna share their experience in maintaining their devices on September 8th at 1:00 PM Eastern time. If you haven't figured it out yet, we do all of our webinars on Thursday at 1:00 PM.

Our second webinar will be. Patient room next, improve care efficiency. The patient room is evolving inside and outside of your four walls. What is coming next to improve clinical effectiveness through technology with guests from health systems like yours, we're gonna discuss machine vision, ambient listening, AI care, companions, and much more.

And I've been having some of the conversations around this patient room. Exciting technologies really interesting use cases. I think you're gonna wanna set aside some time for this one before both webinars check out the briefing campaigns that are being released on our channel on the conference channel around this, these conversations are gonna give you a sneak peek into the discussions that we are going to have.

You can find these episodes in register for both webinars at this week. health.com. Both webinars will be in the top right hand corner. And I look forward to seeing you there. Back to our show.

that makes a lot of sense. And just providing the options for what's best for the individual at the right time.

That's really helpful. But as you were talking, one thing that came to mind for me was having the resources available is. Just one side of the coin. The other is this idea of stigma, which still persists today. How do you see a path to reducing stigma so that people feel that they can utilize services, especially when care is through their employers?

Great question too. I mean, stigma is obviously a big, big topic that you hear from employers all the time. And the way we look at it is how do you make it easy and not necessarily make the consumer or the member or the employee think that, let me sign myself up right. For this behavioral program, it's more, and it goes back to this longitudinal holistic approach that we even take care of Transcarent is how do you naturally Fit yourself into the flow of somebody's life. So, one example of that is how you decrease. Some of that stigma is let's say somebody isn't feeling well. Like they just notice I'm extremely tired. And so in our ecosystem today, the member can start off the journey or that care experience by simply starting to chat with a doctor within 60 seconds.

And they're using a simple telehealth visit. It's not labeled as a behavioral visit. Let me check you in, right. You're getting this sort of special. care it's You're just getting care and whole person care and behavioral care is part of that sort of general traditional chronic care that we're delivering. And so the number can start off the conversation.

You're not feeling well and haven't been sleeping. Well, next thing you know, that telehealth provider is able to go through a full behavioral health assessment with the member. Understand, Hey, where are you sitting today in terms of. My, depression tendencies, or I'm not feeling so well, do I have anxiety, right?

Being able to spot, check some of those symptoms and then moving them as that next best action to say, actually, you would be a great fit. Did you know your employer offers this wonderful benefit where now you can do some self-guided care and your anxiety will be able to decrease. Please follow up with me if you need help.

So then that way the employee. Feels comfortable, right. That you've given me the tools and the assets and the information to enter the ecosystem at my own pace at my own time, where and how I want it. And there's really so many different entry points. So instead of just labeling a behavioral door, But this is the one that you always have to go through is it's all of our jobs, right?

The entities that are working here in healthcare to have behavioral support, no matter where the front door is, it could have been medication related. How do we given that support? The entry point was telehealth. The entry point may have been Hey at a musculoskeletal event. And now how do I get behavioral health?

Somebody just got diagnosed with cancer and they're being treated as an oncology patient. but They need more behavioral and mental health support than anybody else, because they just got some of the most challenging news of their lifetime. And so it really is imperative for us to be able to navigate and, help the consumer through whatever the various different entry points are versus labeling it as a behavioral health door.

And the more we do. that The more, the stigma will in essence go away. And behavioral care is part of whole person care is part of everyday care and everybody should be able to get it on their terms and when and how they need it.

I love that. It's not the Ooh mental healthcare. Right. But, but care, this is just care.

This is just care. Exactly.

A lot less intimidating. I think so. Yeah. I'd love to talk a little bit more about that. That right there, stigma, yeah. Is one piece of how a solution that really touches so much of a person's care can benefit their behavioral health. We'd love to hear. Are there any other ways that you think such a holistic solution can make an impact for employee?

Yeah, absolutely. And that's something we are very much focusing on here at transparent right now, is that focus on this longitudinal care. So whether it's MSK care, whether it's oncology care, whether it's pharmacy care how do you infuse. Throughout that longitudinal journey that even when the member is well and they may not need that care, but they may have a dependent or a spouse that does need that care that you're giving them the tools and the assets all in a single place to be able to access it readily that you are transparent with the content or the support that they may need.

And then two being there for them going back to what door that member is going into, that you're there for them. And you're catching. Depending on where they're coming in. So we definitely see it doesn't matter what the chronic condition is, but the member is really managing or dealing with that.

You take this holistic and longitudinal approach, whether it's on the complex care delivery side, whether it's more of an acute need or it's more on the wellness and the prevention side that you have levers. To be able for them to draw on and support themselves in their individual care journeys. And I cannot emphasize that enough is that everyone's care journey is unique and it cannot be just a broad stroke approach.

I have a singular solution. It should work for everyone won't. And so being able to have the tools in the access points and being there for the number of 24 by seven on their terms, giving them all the information to make the right decisions. That's really how we see this kind of panning out across.

Any care delivery experience that the number may have.

Wow. And one thing you mentioned was singular solution. If I could ask you about that. Yeah. With all of the point solutions out there, particularly for Gabriel health, whether it's condition specific solutions on the market now and more broad.

So. How does one develop a solution that isn't just more of the same that gets lost into a long list of options available to employee.

yeah, there are a lot of behavioral health solutions in the marketplace today. And I would say that's probably one of the biggest challenges that employers are facing is that they're merely overwhelmed.

They're overwhelmed and they don't even know what to choose. They don't understand what works. And so they hear their employees saying I want more they see a lot more on the shelf. Right. But they don't know which one of those solutions to pull in when, for what? And for. And so, it is imperative for us in the industry, whether your health plan or your behavioral health provider, what we're doing here at transparent is understanding those needs of the population.

And then having some of those subspecialize sort of elements of that care journey, not just a behavioral care journey, but that care journey of that member and deploying some of those specific. Levers and needs were appropriate. So when you think about the broader behavioral care or care journey you do need to have those virtual elements, right?

So you have to be there for the member in terms of, can I check my symptoms? Can I locate a provider? Is that provider specialize in the type of care that I may need if I'm a parent and I'm trying to seek ADHD help from my child, or I have autism support, I need, how do I identify? Does that provider even provide that support that I'm seeking from my individual child.

And so really being able to have holistic that sort of upfront care experience, finding a provider. Identifying what support and then even self identifying what help do I really need before I move on to the next step of the journey, then the second piece is okay. The access point, which should be the first access point.

Is it digital self-service is it a telehealth support ecosystem? And how do you give all of that to the consumer in a single place? Where they're not having to seek out and figure out for myself. I go for telehealth over here and I go for this thing over here and I go for that thing over there. And then there is that complex sort of care journey.

All right. So I've now I've gone through that diagnosis. I've been assigned maybe a set of medications. How do I now continue to manage that care journey? And where is my support ecosystem? Where can I continue to read up of information from a content standpoint? How do I schedule a follow up appointment to the provider?

If I do need immediate care, where do I get it? And so having that longitudinal sort of support ecosystem is critical and that's in essence, what we have built here at transparent is a. One stop experience for the member, no matter where they are in the journey, no matter where they started, some people may be starting on the higher acuity end of the journey.

Some may starting on the lower acuity end of the journey that we're there for them. And as they get better and sort of life flows you are there for them at any given point and they're able to self-service and use these pieces as well as they're getting that support ecosystem. For example, with our health guides here, transparent that are there for the member.

24 by 7, 365 and are able to give them that support and finding a provider and scheduling the appointment and giving them the guarantee that we're gonna get you in to see somebody that's in less than a three day period. That's immensely helpful. Both to the member and the employer that they feel like their employees are in good hands and they have a singular solution that can help them address all of these needs versus what they're experiencing today, which is, Hey, I've bought 10.

My employee has no idea that they then need to figure out how do I organize those 10 things in 10 different apps to be able to get to the help that I need versus having, more of the technology and the AI to be able to drive more of that. next best action for the member and where they need to go.

So they're not having to do a lot of that work themselves if they want to. Absolutely. We give you all the tools to do so, but also giving them a support system that we're able to be there for them when they need us.

Right. Cause if I'm in distress, the last thing we wanna do is be sorting through even where to get started.

one area that is particularly important for me personally, and professionally has been youth mental health. And I'm just curious, have you been hearing from employees or even employees and their dependents needs around youth mental health.

absolutely. And that continues to be either a number one or a number two.

Problem statement that you hear from employers and their employees today is how do you not just give me additional behavioral, mental health support, but what about my child, my spouse, and in particular, in that adolescence category, what we're seeing is a need between the age band of six to 18.

Where employees are struggling with providing additional support for their family members. The pandemic has definitely had a tremendous impact where parents are saying I need additional help for my child, whether it's autism related, ADHD related eating disorder related as well as substance use disorder in particular, parents of teenagers are dealing with a lot of those challenges today.

How do I help with. Alcohol use disorder medications, whether it's opioid overuse and abuse, as well as smoking cessation needs around e-cigarettes and other categories. And so you definitely have a spectrum of needs, and we hear transcare and really went to work earlier this year and said, how do we deliver a longitudinal solution that is there for the adult, the primary beneficiary and the spouse, as well as all of the dependents.

So our solution really covers. That most critical age band between six to 18, where our employees feel confident and comfortable, not just getting the support that they need, but giving those same tools for their children. And not just that as a mother or father, as an employee in a plan, how do I get immediate access?

To an appointment to a provider that my child needs, where prior to this solution, they have had to wait, 20, 30 days to get in with a psychologist or a psychiatrist. And we're able to get them in, in less than three days. And that has made a world of a difference for our members and the employers as well, where now they have satisfied employees and that helps the employer.

From an absenteeism and presentee standpoint where their employees can now focus on the work versus having to navigate and figure out how to get care for their child. So, absolutely it is a key priority in something that we definitely wanna be there for for our employers and their members.

Well, this has been excellent.

I have so many more questions, but I can't believe we're already running out of time. It was really great talking with you about an issue that I know we're both really passionate about and exciting to hear all of this great work at trans.

great.

Thank you so much for having me.

I really love this show. I love hearing from people on the front lines. I love hearing from these leaders and we want to thank our hosts who continue to support the community by developing this great content. We also want to thank our show sponsors, olive rubric trellis. Mitigate and F five in partnership with serious healthcare for investing in our mission to develop the next generation of health leaders.

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