This article is sponsored by Heading Health. In this Voices interview, Behavioral Health Business sits down with Andrea Marquez, Therapy Lead, Heading Health, to talk about the importance of collaboration among patients and diverse provider teams to improve care outcomes and the experience as a whole. She also discusses Heading Health’s approach to treatment innovation and inclusivity in the mental health space.
Behavioral Health Business: What career experiences do you most draw from, in your role today?
Andrea Marquez: I feel as though I am able to draw from all of my experiences working here. My first role was in a fast-expanding program that went from 1 group providing treatment with 2 therapists to 9 groups providing treatment with 15 therapists on board. We learned as we went in terms of growing and scaling. Working in private practice and as a hospital administrator, I was able to see the impact that health insurance has on a patient’s ability to access and receive treatment. Working in the tech sector on a global team, I was able to see the real-world impact of mental health conditions on people in the environment and how having support on the ground made so much of a difference.
Why is it important to have provider teams of different disciplines and specialties to
collaborate in the same space? What kind of collaboration can come from this and how does this serve the patients?
I think it is important to have multidisciplinary teams because it provides different perspectives into the patient’s presenting problems from a unique vantage point. You can see if you have a blind spot somewhere and how important it is for us as providers to need support as well.
Collaborative care is important for patients because of the expanded perspective, and it helps to possibly make more accurate diagnoses and provide a better-fitting treatment. Patients get access to multiple providers for the price paid for one or two that they see on the team. It also allows for the patient to still receive treatment if their established provider is out of office. The team shares records so someone on the team can review notes in the chart and get a sense of the patient’s situation.
How is Heading contributing to treatment innovations in the mental health space?
At Heading, we are working with patient engagement software that allows us to send patients assessments related to their mental health such as PHQ-9, PCL-5, and GAD-7. We are also able to send specific measures if needed to track other patient concerns. This allows us to get an idea over time if the patient’s symptoms are improving and if they would possibly benefit from an internal referral or change in provider who specializes in something specific that the patient needs. The app also allows us to send patient skills training and psychoeducation documents to their phone where they have continuous access. We can give patients the ability to send between-session notes to give us more information on how they are progressing or where they have obstacles because sometimes they don’t remember the details of the situation by the time they get to session.
How is Heading working toward a more inclusive experience for patients of different backgrounds and reducing stigma?
Heading has a diverse team of men and women who represent different cultures, professional experiences, languages, and therapeutic modalities, which enables us to offer patients unique choices related to their treatment. If one provider is not a good fit we can transfer the patient to someone who could be a better fit.
We normalize the need to transfer or look at different providers. Everyone should have access to what they feel is most helpful to their treatment and feel comfortable with their provider. I love that I get to speak Spanish with some of my patients. I also appreciate that we have women and men of color who specialize in different areas of concern such as trauma, perinatal, substance abuse, and spirituality.
What is shaping the future of psychedelic treatments? Do all roads lead to Rome?
There are many options for patients out there in terms of psychedelic treatments. There are different levels of care, different settings, different medications and practitioners who are trained in ways to support patients through their journey. I think the best part of this is that there is not a one-size-fits-all solution in this realm of treatment.
I think as we see the data from clinical trials, the applications for FDA approval, and the intersection with insurance payors, we will begin to see the expansion of access to different treatments that are not available now. I also think the future is going to contain standardization and guidelines that could help with safety measures. We are building the road as we go. It is an exciting time.
Why is it important to have patients inform your processes and contribute to treatment innovation?
Patient feedback helps a lot. I know you cannot please everyone and not every treatment will work the same with every person. However, I do think that getting their perspective is valuable as they are the ones experiencing the treatment relationship. There is something to be said about the clinician-patient relationship. We are the experts in skills, support, medications and interventional treatments. Patients have their own expertise of their minds and bodies. We need this to be a collaborative process. We are in this together.
Finish this sentence: “In 2024, the behavioral health industry will be defined by…”
… collaboration. As we move toward value-based care, different disciplines, expert clinicians, patients, health technology and payors will need to find a common ground of collaboration to help patients reach their goals. There are a lot of stakeholders involved, but this also allows for the possible individualization of treatments, and isn’t that best practice? It would be wonderful to see us all get there together.
Editor’s note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Learn how Heading is improving access and outcomes through innovative treatment planning and in-network care for patients in Texas with higher acuity, and hard-to-treat depression, PTSD, anxiety, and more at headinghealth.com
The Voices Series is a sponsored content program featuring leading executives discussing trends, topics and more shaping their industry in a question-and-answer format. For more information on Voices, please contact [email protected].