As founder of CedarBridge Group, I’ve been thinking about the complexities and commonalities of our consulting engagements. Our clients work in public and private channels; in red, blue, and purple states, large and small; and at many stages of maturity in journeying toward connected, value-based healthcare.
At the core of our work, CedarBridge helps clients reduce barriers that limit the use of data to improve patient care and population health. Across all sectors of our healthcare clients, one of the most common barriers we see is in sharing sensitive data, especially mental health data, among a patient’s care team.
A consultant’s role is to help clients with tough problems. We dig deep on the complex information they need, share the best of what we know, and help execute solutions. On the subject of mental health in America, we know nearly 70% of adults diagnosed with mental health disorders are also facing medical conditions, and nearly a third of adults with one or more chronic medical conditions also suffers from a mental health disorder.[i] The majority of time, anywhere in the country, mental health providers don’t have information about care received from their patients’ primary and specialty care providers, and the same is true in reverse.
Why is CedarBridge branching out to build software? I’ve been asked this question many times since we committed last summer to join the technology development space by entering the federal government’s health IT competition, Move Health Data Forward Challenge, encouraging tech developers to use new national standards for consumer-focused data-sharing solutions. The reason for expanding CedarBridge services beyond consulting to include technology products is simple; we see the obstacles and impediments to sharing sensitive health data in every corner of our work. As a partner with our clients, we want to provide more than good advice on managing legal and cultural considerations for sharing health data, we want to offer solutions that will improve patient care. The CedarBridge consumer consent mobile app CareApprove™ now one of five finalists in the Challenge competition, is just such a solution.
With CareApprove, patients and (in some cases) caregivers will be referred by a provider, health plan, or even by an employer, to install the privacy-protected app on a smartphone or mobile device, register, and provide consent for securely sharing electronic health records with approved providers. We’re very proud and excited that on May 1st, patients in Pennsylvania used a live version of the CareApprove™ app for the first time, providing consent for mental health records to be sent to their primary care providers, in the initial pilot use case of our technology.
Developing CareApprove™ with our partners, Stella Technology, has been a rewarding adventure. With one pilot underway, we are energized to work with additional pilot sites and quickly build expanded CareApprove™ functionality for other consent purposes, while we cross our fingers about being selected as one of the final two winners of the Challenge.
The CedarBridge team views health IT as a bridge that will span gaps in the delivery of quality healthcare. The CareApprove™ app is a way for patients to be the bridge between providers, at the center of their own care. I hope you will follow our progress, and reach out to us if you’re interested in learning more.
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