Ohio Launches Digital Platform to Match Patients with Psychiatric Beds

Nov 30, 2020

The state of Ohio launches an online platform. The state’s Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services is introducing a new online psychiatric bed registry. The tool, called Behavioral Health Connection (B-Con), was developed to give clinicians a real-time view of bed openings. This makes matching patients with mental health needs to available beds in inpatient psychiatric facilities across the state faster.

Mental health professional and emergency departments expect to use the service. Users can access the platform for inquiry and feedback, data aggregation, analytics, and decision-support resources. The service runs on Appriss Health OpenBeds platform, functioning already in eight other states.

The Reason and Need

As of today, there is a gross shortage of beds in psychiatric facilities across the United States. The Treatment Advocacy Center made that known in a report. Furthermore, it stated that the number of state hospital beds in the U.S. had dropped by 97% from 1955 to 2016.Even with the inclusion of private hospitals, the number of psychiatric beds is relatively still insufficient.  Unfortunately, this shortage of beds led to a worse situation by 2014. Currently, ten times more people with mental health illnesses were in prisons and jails than in state mental hospitals.

Unfortunately, the number of ER visits for mental health-related issues is on the high side. The CDC reports that this number stands at 4.8 million. According to Dr. Justin Trevino, OhioMAS Medical Director, “all too often individuals experiencing a psychiatric crisis have long delays in obtaining appropriate services.” This, he said, results in long waits at home, in emergency departments, or in jails. Now a top priority, the Department will reduce the delays with hopes to improve with the new online registry.

The Larger Trend

The WHO stated that the pandemic had disrupted mental health services in 93% of all countries. On the other hand, demand is growing during the pandemic. Digital mental health platforms are on the rise, creating a solution to the issue. However, these services target giving patients care at-home.

While there are big telehealth and online therapy companies doing their best to curtail the problem, more is welcomed. Dr. Nishi Rawat added, “We are thrilled that this new program will help Ohioans access mental healthcare resources faster when they need it most.

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