6 steps to becoming a whole-person care focused organization

January 21, 2020

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A trend in the behavioral health and human services industry over the last several years has been a push to provide whole-person care (WPC) to individuals and clients. Without treating the whole person, treatment tends to become fragmented. This goal of WPC has become attainable largely due to the use of electronic health records (EHR) and collecting and sharing data about clients.

Whole-Person Care

Providing WPC means ensuring that every aspect of a person's health is examined and treated, as opposed to just individual symptoms and conditions. Treating the whole person helps people stay healthier and require less care. Here are six areas an organization should focus on to achieve the goal of providing WPC.

  1. Coordination between primary care physicians and behavioral health care. The current system encourages primary care physicians to attempt to treat behavioral health issues. In fact, the ideal is the other way around. The behavioral health specialist is qualified to treat the behavioral health of a client, with the family doctor in a supporting role.

  2. Better behavioral health practices. Even with better coordination between primary care and behavioral health, better protocol and systems are needed in family doctor offices to treat behavioral health conditions. As evidence, up to 70% of primary care visits are caused by behavioral conditions. For example, depression and anxiety can cause a myriad of physical symptoms that can be "treated" by a family doctor, but these conditions can often be the ultimate cause of the physical symptoms and are best treated by a behavioral health professional.

  3. Fighting the stigma of behavioral health diagnosis. Although great strides have been made, the issue is far from resolved. These stigmas are far greater than those attached to medical issues and physical symptoms. Consequently, many clients forgo treatment for behavioral health issues, causing the problem to worsen which can lead to more physical symptoms and the need for more medical treatment and intervention.

  4. More client participation in treatment plans and health monitoring. A recent study found that 84% of clients feel sure that their medical records are kept in strict confidence. However, when those records are exchanged electronically, the number drops to 66%. The more people feel their health information is safe, the more they will interact with the new information-sharing applications many organizations are using. More data being shared leads to more whole-person care.

  5. Data collection systems with complete, accurate and comprehensive information. This helps the organization address all client needs to meet the goal of promoting and providing whole-person care.

  6. Equal access for all pertinent healthcare organizations and providers to all of an individual's health data. Healthcare organizations are investing in secure data exchange of information among differing specialties more and more, but this exchange is largely dependent upon both the sender and the receiver of the electronic data having compatible systems that can consume data with industry-standard protocols.

    If you would like to learn more about how Core Solutions' Cx360 program allows behavioral health and human services organizations to fully implement EHRs as well as gather and analyze the necessary data, all in one platform, request a demo of Core EHR solutions today.