Event Blog: NMHIC at the State Innovation Model Collaborative Learning Session

Sarah Beary and Sam Hubley recently spoke at the State Innovation Model (SIM) Collaborative Learning Session in Broomfield, CO. The SIM is a state-wide grant from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation that focuses on increasing access for all Coloradoans to integrated behavioral health and primary care services.

NMHIC received an invitation to present at the Collaborative Learning Session because the SIM also emphasized the expansion of technology to support the integration of behavioral health and primary care.

Sarah kicked off the presentation by describing our Tech Innovation Network (TIN) and how we work with clinical and industry partners to rapidly develop, implement, and evaluate mental health technologies. She highlighted NMHIC’s participatory approach to recruiting and onboarding clinical partners, which means that NMHIC determines which technologies to implement based on local needs assessments and collaborative decision-making. We believe strongly in this approach that bucks the trend of Universities and academics dictate to community partners solutions for the problems they encounter. NMHIC highly values the combination of community and academic expertise to identify local solutions that have the best chances of success and sustainability.

Sam tagged in to describe common themes from needs assessments with our primary care partners: mental illness stigma, high patient volume, and provider burnout. He went on to share specific examples about how TIN site member are implementing Virtual Reality solutions to address these barriers common to integrated behavioral health and primary care. The audience listened to stories about:

  • Patients accepting behavioral health services because it included using VR to facilitate exposure therapy for a flying phobia in ways that felt more private and controlled than doing exposures at Denver International Airport,
  • Using VR mindfulness training to help patients stay regulated while telling their trauma stories, and
  • Physicians who described ways in which using VR mindfulness helps with stress reduction, both during clinic and at home when trying to wind-down.

All-in-all the event was a success! Despite eight other co-occurring talks, the NMHIC presentation was well-attended and several audience members approached Sarah and Sam afterwards to learn more about becoming a TIN site. We look forward to continuing to support our primary care partners in behavioral health integration with mental health technology.

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