WIHI: The Benefits of Behavioral Health in the ED

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November 14, 2019


  • Arpan Waghray, MD, System Director, Behavioral Medicine, System Medical Director, Telepsychiatry, Providence St. Joseph Health; Chief Medical Officer, Well Being Trust
  • Scott Zeller, MD, Vice President of Acute Psychiatry, Vituity
  • Scott M. Surico, BSN, RN, MICN, Education Coordinator for Emergency Services, Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian
  • ​Marie Schall, MA, Senior Director, Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI)​

Emergency departments (EDs) constantly handle behavioral health-related emergencies, but what if EDs were able to take a more proactive approach toward behavioral health patients, initiating treatment and better connecting individuals to optimal care?

On this episode of WIHI, hear about the 18-month IHI initiative, Integrating Behavioral Health in the Emergency Department and Upstream (ED and UP). With support from the Well Being Trust, the ED and UP initiative sought to improve ED culture surrounding patients with behavioral health issues, emphasizing trauma-informed care, and the need to build awareness of, and partner with, community resources.

The WIHI panel highlights the importance of changing hearts and minds and practices in the ED with behavioral health patients when they’re most vulnerable, and the impact well-conceived interventions can have on patients, family members, and staff. Treating patients with the care most appropriate to their condition is of critical importance in health care, and we hope you’ll appreciate and learn from this WIHI.

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