Mental health is one of the biggest challenges facing the U.S. today. Irving Steel, Prevail Health’s business development and population health manager, reports that rates of depression symptoms among Americans are higher than at any time in the past 30 years. The economic cost is just as staggering: some $300 billion is spent every year on mental healthcare and lost productivity. Oliver Wyman Associate Terrance Wallace learned more from Steel about how Prevail Health’s interactive technology helps engage this hard-to-reach population and drive positive outcomes:
Terrance Wallace: Could you give us an overview of Prevail Health for those who aren't familiar with your work?
Irving Steel: Prevail’s next generation Behavioral Health Treatment platform allows health plans to identify at risk members with mental health issues, tap into those members in order to build profiles and gain more insight, and then activate those members and triage them to the appropriate level of care when needed. Throughout this acquire—assess—triage—treat model, Prevail allows health plans to increase access to behavioral health treatment within their population, while at the same time decreasing mental health costs.
TW: What problem are you working to solve? What’s your mission?
IS: The problem we are working to solve is mental health issues. Our mission is simple: improve behavioral health for all.
TW: How does your solution work?
IS: Prevail’s AchieveWellTM platform is successful because we use social media strategies to actively and passively flag people who have mental health issues and activate them to use the program when they need it. Prevail engages health plan members with a live ecosystem of social and trained peer specialist support as well as a first of its kind online adaptive treatment program. We build trust with members, driving adherence to clinical data capture and reporting.
TW: What has been your most recent milestone achievement?
IS: We recently finished a health economics outcome study over one year of delivering our solution to the largest integrated health plan and provider in America, the Veterans Health Administration. Of the 6,900 Veterans not receiving VA care served through Prevail, 2,269 met the criteria for probable depression with a score of 11 on PHQ-9 assessment and 1,031 of those Veterans engaged in Prevail’s programs to see clinical benefit. The result was $3.7 million in savings for the VA and a ROI of 14.8 for the VA’s spending on Prevail. Importantly, this number only includes savings for direct mental healthcare costs, not indirect costs like comorbid conditions.
TW: What are your immediate goals and challenges?
IS: We are looking to partner with health plans who want to anticipate and control mental health spending. Our challenge is a good one: to find the smartest and most passionate people to join our growing team. We are strongly driven to utilize technology as effectively as possible to provide access to care to those in need.
TW: What projects and partnerships are you working on now?
IS: We are currently in productive discussions with leading large and medium payers about using Prevail’s technology that requires no integration.
TW: What does the future of healthcare look like to you?
IS: The future is now. Utilizing internet behavioral health treatment is already here. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), under the Department of Health and Human Services, analyzed our technology and gave us the highest evidence rating of ‘strong’ and advises health plans to use it.
TW: What advice do you have for other healthcare innovators?
IS: Focus is key.