OpenBeds | Dr. Nishi Rawat

abstract

INTERVIEW

OpenBeds | Dr. Nishi Rawat

Author(s)
Nishi Rawat
Nishi Rawat
(Co-founder, OpenBeds)

FOCUS: Treatment

What does your business do? And what is unique about your health technology intervention?

OpenBeds is a leading cloud-based platform that identifies, unifies, and tracks behavioral health resources. We help states and counties create trusted, comprehensive, and inclusive networks in order to coordinate multiple independent treatment, referral, and support services and pool capacity. With an OpenBeds network, state governments can capture real-time utilization data and referral patterns to better target resources, identify gaps in care, and share best practices.

How do you help people with the disease of addiction or in response to mental health needs?

With access to treatment as one of the major barriers to addressing the opioid crisis, the OpenBeds network fosters collaboration and coordination among medical and mental health providers, social services, and substance use disorder (SUD) programs. By facilitating rapid referrals with up-to-date availability of both inpatient and outpatient behavioral health services, OpenBeds improves patient access to treatment for crisis, mental health, and SUD. 

All OpenBeds state-wide networks are connected to Treatment Connection. Treatment Connection is an online portal that enables those seeking mental health and substance use disorder (SUD) treatment for themselves or others to anonymously search for nearby providers, evaluate the type of care needed, and submit confidential online referral inquiries to appropriate treatment providers vetted by the state. Treatment Connection is now live in several states.

How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted your work?

The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly affected the behavioral health community and the ability for people to access and receive substance use and mental health treatment. We are working with our state networks to provide rich data about access, including the types of clients who are falling through the cracks and which facilities are accepting new clients or able to provide telehealth services at this time.  

In addition, we have retooled our system to enable states, counties, and health systems to rapidly coordinate available critical beds (e.g., ICU), equipment, and trained clinicians across health-care facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

What is the biggest challenge as a result of the pandemic?

Like many businesses, contracts and implementations are on hold as resources and attention are rightly turned to fighting the pandemic. However, what concerns us the most is ensuring people are getting the access to treatment that they need.

People are isolated at home, and communication is primarily through their computer. OpenBeds and Treatment Connection are services that can support that access though some online barriers exist for us to communicate the availability of our state-approved network of services. We are working with social media providers and our state partners to communicate the message regarding these available services.

What else would you like the broader community to know?

The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting slowdown in economic activity will likely increase the need for behavioral health services and create new barriers for those in need of these services. Few people are able to easily and seamlessly access such services to begin with, and the pandemic will likely increase the shortage of treatment services and skilled behavioral health professionals. We need to be collectively prepared to address the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure we continue to improve access to treatment for those in need.

Published July 20, 2020