This week – May 20-28 – I will be on an expert panel to discuss “COVID 19 Innovations: What’s next for behavioral health solutions?”. In preparation, I have been thinking about my experiences in behavioral health innovation over the years.


INNOVATION can be defined as a change in something established, especially new methods, ideas, or products. To INNOVATE can be introduce (something new, especially a product).


I reflected on my Psychiatry residency in New York City and work I did with Project for Psychiatric Outreach for the Homeless. My rotation in community psychiatry was to go to NYC homeless shelters and provide psychiatric assessment and medication management to homeless New Yorkers. Was this INNOVATION? No – it was certainly unusual, but I don’t think it was innovative. I was using the same methods and ideas but in a different setting.


My first job after residency was at Doctors Making Housecalls where I was the first psychiatrist to join a primary care team that treated complex geriatric patients in their homes and in assisted living facilities. Was this INNOVATION? Yes – I developed a team-based model of care with the primary care providers and a group of home health nurses to treat psychiatric and neurocognitive disorders in a home or facility setting.


As an entrepreneur, I founded, grew, and sold a group psychiatry practice over a 9 year period. As the CEO (and COO, CFO, CMO, provider, office manager, receptionist, and interior decorator!) I had the ultimate freedom to make choices about the business and clinical model. Was this INNOVATION? Yes and no – the practice setting was mainly traditional, but I was able to rapidly iterate and incorporate new technologies and programs like Telehealth, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), and an evidence-based adult ADHD program.


As the deputy Chief Medical Officer at Community Care of North Carolina (CCNC), I had the opportunity to design and implement a CMS cooperative Practice Transformation Network around building integrated care into Medicaid primary care practices across the state of North Carolina. Was this INNOVATION? Yes – we built a technical assistance model to help practices move towards value-based care by building foundational steps or advanced integrated care models, depending on their level of sophistication.


Most recently, I served as the Chief Behavioral Health Officer and VP for Clinical Excellence at Caremore Health. Was this INNOVATIVE? Yes – while the idea of integrated care was nothing new to CareMore (they were a pioneer in having behavioral health staff on their teams), getting the teams operationally integrated took creativity, new processes, and new education.


Are you doing INNOVATIVE behavioral health work?


Are you doing TRADITIONAL work in new settings (via video, in the home)?


Are you curious about how others are rapidly evolving behavioral health care delivery?


Join me for the conversation May 20-28th!

Dr Jennie Byrne © All Rights Reserved