BURLINGTON, MA (July 11, 2023) – Tufts Medicine is proud to announce its partnership with Synchronous Health, a leading provider of evidence and measurement-based behavioral health care services. Together, they are revolutionizing the way healthcare providers practice medicine by prioritizing the mental well-being of patients alongside their physical health and by enabling patients to receive care where it’s most accessible and convenient. This partnership also revolutionizes how behavioral health care is delivered with the use of a digital platform that leverages artificial intelligence, a bot called Karla®, to deliver interventions from the care plan where and when patients need support most. Piloted with several Tufts Medicine practices in the fall of 2022, this collaborative telehealth offering will provide access to patients cared for through the entire Tufts Medicine Integrated Network, which includes more than 2,300 physicians.
The need for behavioral health care has grown tremendously over the past few years. The COVID-19 pandemic both highlighted and exacerbated this need, but also helped to remove the stigma of seeking and receiving treatment. The increased need for behavioral health care services, coupled with a scarcity of behavioral health providers, has created a crisis across the nation. Waits for behavioral health appointments continue to grow, in some cases stretching out to several months, forcing many patients in need of urgent attention to board in Emergency Departments or avoid seeking care entirely. It’s all too common for someone in need of behavioral health care to give up their search before finding a provider.
“The reality is that there simply are not enough local specialty mental health clinicians to meet the need for behavioral and mental health services in the communities we serve,” said Brent P. Forester, MD, MSc, Director of Behavioral Health for Tufts Medicine, Chair of Psychiatry at Tufts Medical Center and the Dr. Frances S. Arkin Professor and Chair of Psychiatry at Tufts University School of Medicine. “Getting timely access to behavioral health appointments could make the difference in helping to prevent an individual from having a crisis situation.”
“This partnership with Synchronous Health improves access to certified, qualified therapists to my patients, which previously would have been a one to three month wait for kids in crisis,” said Dr. Megan Cardoso, a Tufts Medicine pediatrician. “In addition, having the Synchronous therapists embedded into our systems, means that we can have real time conversations about patients we are worried about, or who are doing well. When we started, many were worried about the telehealth platform, but the truth is that most of my pediatric patients and their families have embraced telehealth and the ability to interact with a therapist in their own comfortable home setting. They trust that their doctors are working with these therapists to take the best possible care of them.”
In addition to connecting patients with therapists through scheduled telehealth appointments, Synchronous Health leverages Karla®, an advanced bot designed to provide precision support to individuals in critical moments between sessions. Karla utilizes artificial intelligence to deliver personalized guidance, coping strategies, and resources tailored to unique needs, determined by the patients and their therapists. With Karla's assistance, patients get timely support, helping them navigate challenging situations and reinforcing their progress towards improved mental well-being.
"Partnering with Tufts Medicine unlocks transformative potential for early intervention and improved well-being for participants" said Bill Wing, President of Synchronous Health. “We are thrilled to find a partner in Tufts Medicine that shares the same goals of both increasing access to care and innovating to improve the care that is delivered.”
About Tufts Medicine:
Tufts Medicine is a leading integrated health system bringing together the best of academic and community healthcare to deliver exceptional, connected and accessible care experiences to consumers across Massachusetts. Comprised of Tufts Medical Center, Lowell General Hospital, MelroseWakefield Hospital, Lawrence Memorial Hospital of Medford, Care at Home, and a large integrated physician network, Tufts Medicine has more than 15,000 dedicated care team members providing more than 1.5 million patient experiences per year. The health system is the principal teaching affiliate for Tufts University School of Medicine. Tufts Medicine came together in 2014 to leverage the experience of its member organizations and integrate their missions to together transform the ways that consumers engage with and experience their care.
About Synchronous Health:
Synchronous Health is a leading provider of evidence-based and measurement-based behavioral health care. Participants receive care from a national network of credentialed behavioral health providers who also use Karla®, an AI bot, to deliver precision support between session. With a mission to achieve the best of what it is to be human, thus creating a kinder world with a vision to make well-being accessible to all, Synchronous Health leverages the best of what humans and technology offer to both improve access to care and deliver innovative approaches to care. Its customers include health systems, payers, employers, and education systems.