Americans spend more on healthcare as a percentage of GDP than any other country. We spend about the same as most other advanced countries on prevention (3% of total healthcare spending), but on average experience the worst overall health outcomes of any advanced country. The reasons are complicated and we all suffer the consequences, whether we or our families and friends are healthy or sick.
Mental health is a key determinant of overall health. That correlation has led the Oregon Health Authority to incentivize the integration of mental health services into all healthcare services offered to Oregon Health Plan members. More recently, there has been a burst of federal funding available for mental health services that acknowledges the adverse impact of the pandemic on population-wide mental health. However, mental health professionals are in extremely short supply and that shortage is forecast to worsen in the years ahead.
A critical step towards improving our society’s mental health and overall physiological health is leveraging data and technology to deliver cost-effective mental health prevention programs. Recognizing this need, the University of Oregon began investing in 2015 in the adaptation of the Family Check-Up (FCU) program into a guided web-based application, the FCU Online.
The Family Check-Up has a 30 year track record of preventing young adult depression and substance abuse by positively influencing the relationships parents have with their children. As a web-based application, FCU Online replicates the experience of a motivational interview with a therapist, and is typically complimented by focused “coaching” calls from a lightly-trained therapist, a service that is a fraction of the cost to deliver by comparison with conventional in-clinic therapy.
Northwest Prevention Science Inc. (NPS) was founded in 2021 with a mission to disseminate the Family Check-Up as widely as possible as quickly as possible, leveraging technology and private investment. The founders of NPS, Dr. Elizabeth Stormshak of the University of Oregon’s Prevention Science Institute, and Christopher Hazen, a seasoned sustainability entrepreneur with private equity investment experience, have learned since establishing NPS that integration of FCU Online with Social Determinants of Health (SDoH) data collection and management initiatives, such as the Gravity Project, as well as the most common case management and EHR systems, such as EPIC, is likely to play a key role on sustained adoption of the Family Check-Up program.
Photo description: Mike Walker, Beth Stormshak, Chris Hazen and Lisa Reiter enjoying some Thai food in between planning sessions in Seattle.
NPS is now hiring! Check out our latest job posting on LinkedIn or reach out to us if you’d like more information the potential opportunity to be part of our team. Regardless of what LinkedIn says…we are still accepting applications!