University of Washington School of Medicine AIMS Center and Concert Health to Scale Telepsychiatry Collaborative Care for Complex Psychiatric Disorders

Project will implement approach to treat 2,700 patients with bipolar disorder and PTSD in medically underserved areas and medically underserved populations 

SAN DIEGO — April 23, 2024 — Concert Health, the leading Collaborative Care platform, and the Advancing Integrated Mental Health Solutions (AIMS) Center in the University of Washington Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, today announced a three year, multi-state project to facilitate mental health care for 2,700 patients with complex psychiatric disorders in primary care settings. Specifically, the project will leverage and scale a Telepsychiatry Collaborative Care Model (CoCM) to help identify and treat patients with bipolar disorder and/or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

The initiative is funded through a $2.5 million award from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). PCORI awarded this funding to the AIMS Center research team to implement findings from the PCORI-funded SPIRIT study, which demonstrated that telepsychiatry collaborative care significantly and substantially improved clinical outcomes for patients with bipolar disorder and PTSD living in medically underserved areas. Telepsychiatry Collaborative Care is an evidence-based model in which an integrated primary care team, including a care manager and telepsychiatrist consultant, collaboratively identify and treat patients with behavioral health conditions in primary care settings. The study also found that this model efficiently leveraged behavioral health specialist time when compared to a traditional referral approach. Published in JAMA, the findings are significant considering only one-third of patients with complex psychiatric disorders engage in specialty mental health care, and only one-tenth receive adequate treatment in primary care. 

Over the next three years, Concert Health and the AIMS Center will scale the findings from this research, partnering with more than 150 primary care clinics located in medically underserved areas or caring for medically underserved populations across several states. The AIMS Center will train Concert Health’s lead psychiatric trainers and lead care manager trainers in Collaborative Care management for bipolar disorder and/or PTSD. They will then train Concert Health’s expert care team, who will then partner with primary care providers to screen patients identified with a behavioral health need for bipolar disorder and/or PTSD, provide treatment to their patients with a patient-centered “treat to target approach”, and provide psychiatric consultation, making specific treatment recommendations focusing on symptom reductions. Concert Health’s care experts, who have treated nearly 100,000 patients, become an integrated part of preexisting care teams through sustained clinical partnerships.

“After demonstrating the clinical effectiveness of telepsychiatry collaborative care for bipolar disorder and/or PTSD in our previous PCORI-funded comparative effectiveness trial, the AIMS Center is excited about partnering with Concert Health to scale-up the implementation of this evidence-based practice,” said Dr. John Fortney, professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Director, Division of Population Health and AIMS Center faculty member. 

“We’re honored to have been awarded this funding and partner with the AIMS Center to further demonstrate that Collaborative Care delivers better outcomes and scales access, including for complex psychiatric disorders,” said Virna Little, PsyD, LCSW, co-founder of Concert Health. “This study underscores the need and opportunity to leverage evidence-based models to treat patients in underserved primary care settings.” 

Concert Health leverages the telepsychiatry collaborative care model (CoCM) paired with their expert behavioral health care team and technology platform. This creates an extra layer of connection between each patient and their primary care team. Concert Health’s investment in research is significant; the organization has spearheaded nine peer-reviewed studies that provide rigor around the measurement and reporting of CoCM outcomes. Today Concert Health partners with leading health systems — including Advent Health, Mass General Brigham, Mercy, and CommonSpirit Health — independent health systems, independent medical groups, Federally Qualified Health Centers, and Rural Health Clinics. Concert Health has driven strong clinical outcomes with half of patients seeing at least a 50 percent decrease in anxiety or depression symptoms (PHQ9 or GAD7) in less than 90 days. Patients also express strong satisfaction with their experience — Concert Health’s care team upholds a 72 net promoter score (72) among patients. 

The PCORI funding award has been approved pending completion of a business and programmatic review by PCORI staff and issuance of a formal award contract. PCORI is an independent, nonprofit organization authorized by Congress with a mission to fund patient-centered comparative clinical effectiveness research that provides patients, their caregivers and clinicians with the evidence-based information they need to make better informed health and health care decisions.

About Concert Health

Concert Health is building America’s best and largest behavioral health platform. Through Collaborative Care, an evidence-based model for treating behavioral health care in primary care settings, Concert makes it easy for primary care and women’s health physicians to deliver high-quality care and improve clinical outcomes. Concert’s turnkey behavioral health services, which include an expert clinical team and a powerful technology platform, are available through partnerships with medical groups and health systems. To learn more about Concert Health’s approach, visit Concert Health, Inc. is an administrative and managerial services company affiliated with several professional corporations that deliver medical services. Together, these organizations operate under the “Concert Health” brand.

About the AIMS Center, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington School of Medicine

The purpose of the AIMS Center is to inspire providers, researchers, and decision-makers to transform healthcare and improve patient outcomes. They accomplish this by translating and researching evidence-based approaches to behavioral health integration, including CoCM. The AIMS Center is internationally recognized as the leading expert in Collaborative Care. They work with healthcare organizations, payers, policy makers, and others to support the widescale implementation of CoCM for diverse patient populations in a wide range of care delivery settings through implementation coaching, clinical training, and a state-of-the-art web-based registry. Collaborative Care is a specific model of integrated care developed at the University of Washington to treat common and persistent mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety in medical settings like primary care. The AIMS Center is housed within the Division of Population Health, an interdisciplinary group of clinicians and scientists dedicated to improving the health of the public by developing, testing, evaluating, and implementing effective behavioral health interventions across the entire spectrum of health care delivery The Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences has over 1,000 faculty, staff and trainees engaged in a wide variety of clinical, research, and training programs. They work to bring the best mental health care to those in need today while discovering the treatments that will help improve the lives of patients tomorrow. The Department is widely regarded as the epicenter of integrated care research, policy, and implementation.