Drs Weaver and Chitre illustrate a population health approach strategy for MDD.
Jay Weaver, PharmD, MPH: In our population of health space, we have some specialized mental health services. We have counselors, case and care managers, within our suite. Those folks can engage members and help them navigate care. They aren’t there to deliver counseling as much as they are to help facilitate care, get people to the right type of provider, and work through the challenges they may have with their mental health disease.
We also provide specialized services around pharmacy-based population health. When folks have a diagnosis, such as MDD [major depressive disorder], and the lack of a treatment, it might help us to understand their barriers to taking their medication. Do they just discontinue the therapy? Are they getting it through a different channel? Do they have a misunderstanding about the treatment? We have specialized pharmaceutical-based population health services to align with this disorder.
Mona Chitre, PharmD, CGP: Some of our population health approaches are from the macro level to the micro level. From the broadest level, we want to decrease the stigma around mental health. Mental health care is as important as physical health care. We’re disseminating this message to our members, providers, and employer groups. We’re starting at the very top of what mental health is and how important it is to be treated.
Second, as Dr Weaver indicated, we’re expanding our clinician base, including telehealth specialists, to enable our members to access care in a space where they feel comfortable and that’s convenient for them. Third, we’re using our data to identify gaps in care, noncompliance, and support our providers in ways that they perhaps weren’t supported before. We’re also starting to look at racial and ethnic data to understand what disparities may exist so that we can close gaps and reduce barriers.
From a member perspective, we’re looking to empower, inform, and educate our members. An educated and empowered member knows what to expect from the health care system and ensures that they get the care they need. Finally, with our case managers team along with our pharmacists, we’re starting to work with community-based organizations. [We have our] feet on the street at the ground level to address any barriers or gaps that may exist across all our populations.
Transcript edited for clarity.