New Mental Health Program Relies on Proficient Health to Connect PCPs with Psychiatry Specialist

New Mental Health Program Relies on Proficient Health


Providing direct and secure access to Psychiatry specialist without disruption

Lurie Children’s has a commitment to the overall health and wellbeing of children and families. Essential to the care of the whole child is the early identification and treatment of common mental health concerns including anxiety, ADHD, and depression. Since the need for mental health services was greater than could be supported by traditional visits to specialists, physicians in the Lurie Children’s Clinically Integrated Network set out to identify a way to enlarge the mental healthcare services offered through the Primary Care Provider (PCP). In the summer of 2018, Lurie launched the MAACC (Mood, Anxiety, ADHD Collaborative Care) program to improve early access to quality psychiatry care closer to home.

The goal of the program was to train and assist the primary care community to provide specifically defined mental health services while providing better access to Lurie specialists for certain situations. This program serves children and young adults suffering from anxiety, ADHD and depression. The MAACC team consists of a care coordinator, child psychologist, psychiatrist and the child’s PCP in collaboration with community psychotherapists. To date, 15 CIN practices and 65 PCPs have elected to participate in the program.

While MAACC is in its infancy, the goal is to develop a replicable and cost sustainable model of collaborative care. Lurie would like to grow this program statewide, to positively disrupt current mental health care models and train more professionals. The ability for a PCP to reach a consultant quickly and easily is essential to that growth.

The traditional method of calling the Psychiatry offices and waiting for a response would not meet the urgent communication needs of this program. The different forms of communication included EPIC, letters, faxes, and phone calls, all of which were not consistent in relaying secure quick information. The PCP needed a way to send PHI securely so that they could ask specific questions and provide the required background information for the specialists. In addition, Lurie’s Psychiatry service wanted to automatically route the questions coming in through the MAACC program to different resources depending on the type of question.

Enable communication and collaboration through PH Connect for better treatment of pediatric patients

PH Connect was introduced to facilitate direct and secure communication between the trained PCP and the Lurie psychiatry specialty team; after being recommended by Lurie’s Clinically Integrated Network, a partner with the MAACC project, who had used PH Connect for more than a year.

At least 32 different PCPs have used PH Connect to securely connect to Lurie’s Psychiatry service

In PH Connect, PCPs can quickly and easily choose from three pre-set “roles” (types of communication) including referrals (answered by an admin), assessments (answered by a psychologist) and medications (answered by a psychiatrist). A Lurie Children’s psychiatry specialist can respond to each message and provide the appropriate care based on message type, or forward the messages to another provider and send messages back regarding the patient. More roles can be added later as needed.

PH Connect also automatically routes each message to the appropriate MAACC role, within the pre-determined time slots when a specialist is available to answer. Anything outside the window of availability shows the sender a popup message with the times and dates the program is open for messages (excludes nights and weekends).