|Josephson Shares Health Buddy Results with Washington|
Louis Josephson, Riverbend’s CEO, joined five of his colleagues from across the nation for a congressional staff briefing about the integration of a primary care health capacity into community mental health centers. Riverbend has been ahead of the curve in implementing creative and effective programs to address this issue in New Hampshire (see Health Buddy and The Capital Region Pediatric Psychiatry Project as examples of recent initiatives), which triggered the invitation for Josephson to speak.
The event, held on July 16, highlighted the Primary Care Behavioral Health Integrations Grants (PBCHI) funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) as well as the SAMHSA-HRSA Center for Integrated Health Solutions.
Josephson shared some of the preliminary research findings of the Health Buddy pilot project — a collaboration between Riverbend, Dartmouth Medical School, and Dartmouth Center for Health and Aging.
Health Buddy is an electronic unit that was developed to provide two-way communication between healthcare providers and patients. It was designed to help people manage their physical and mental health on a daily basis, identify potential risks before they become serious, and work as a team with healthcare providers. The system consists of an in-home device designed by Health Hero Network, Inc and a library of questions and medical information developed by McKesson, Inc.
The Health Buddy pilot project at Riverbend involved a population of individuals living with Severe and Persistant Mental Illness as well as a serious medical condition. Sixty seven percent of the study population was living with Diabetes.
Some highlight results of the study included in Josphson’s presentation to Congress:
• Clients with serious mental illness can be engaged relatively easily to use daily monitoring device (paranoia or fear of the device in a very small number of clients)
• Compliance rates are high. Clients anthropomorphize the Health Buddy unit (feel less isolated and more supported by clinical team)
• Positive effects on health measures, symptoms, self-efficacy and illness knowledge
• Most clients welcome help with learning to better self-manage illness
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