Southern California researchers studied how to improve mental health (MH) referral process for children referred from primary care to community mental health clinics (CMHCs) by utilizing a community-partnered approach. They study included 342 children ages 5-12. 86.5% of the enrollees were Latino. They found that children using the telehealth-enabled referral process had 3 times the odds of completing the initial CMHC screening visit compared with children who were referred by using usual care procedures.
As written in AAP Publications:
The purpose of this study was to determine if telehealth can better improve the mental health referral process from primary care to community care. We have considerable experience working both in patient recruitment and in community care coordination. We believe that these study results are not an isolated case. In other work we have observed growing body of evidence that well-designed community care transition and coordination can produce superior health outcomes.
Why wouldn’t this be applicable to patient recruitment with investigational treatments? Clinical research as a care option represents a growing opportunity to bring patients in need closer to appropriate clinical research programs. Increasing the clinical trial participation rates inside of a health system can produce improve patient recruitment metrics and better patient outcomes. As several emerging clinical research as care options emerge, study outcomes such as evidenced by this Southern California initiative, should be carefully considered. A well designed, telehealth-enabled clinical research as a care referral system, integrating and matching need with care options could contribute to improved outcomes in research and care.