Apr 20, 2022

Key Takeaways from NatCon22, the Largest Conference in Mental Health and Substance Use Treatment

The rapid shift to telehealth visits, rising consumer demand, staffing shortages and burnout, and overwhelming waitlists are just a few of the challenges behavioral health professionals have faced in the past few years. At the same time, the community has been unable to gather in-person to brainstorm, collaborate, or problem-solve. For many of us, NatCon22 was the first large event since the pandemic started that offered stellar networking, educational sessions, and new technology to explore. Hopefully the event offered you renewed energy and optimism to help manage any challenges your organization is currently facing. Here, we’ve rounded up our biggest takeaways from NatCon22:

  1. Providing access to care is a high priority without a lot of clear-cut solutions

Behavioral health professionals are struggling to meet the demand for services. We spoke with one leader whose organization is grappling with a yearlong waitlist. Unfortunately, this scenario isn’t uncommon. Current research shows more than half of adults with mental illness don’t receive treatment, totaling over 27 million U.S. adults. The challenge of providing access to care also aligns with our current behavioral health CEO research, where nearly 100 respondents cited expanding access to services as a top three priority (see the full report here).

Yet, staff shortages and slow-moving solutions—like encouraging more professionals to join the industry, are making it difficult for organizations to quickly meet the demand for services. After discussing this issue with many of you at NatCon22, Owl remains steadfastly committed to helping organizations better meet demand for services. By using data to understand when patients are ready to transition to lower levels of care, our customers have the capacity to better meet demand with their current clinical resources. If you’re interested in learning more, let’s connect.

  1. Digital transformation in behavioral health is abound

As you snaked your way through the exhibit hall, you undoubtedly got swept away by the vast number of potential solutions and strategies that exist to help behavioral health organizations move forward through innovation. The pandemic has sparked new technologies and, as a result, behavioral health professionals are needing to determine how and where to increase their digital investments.

Our key takeaway? Behavioral health organizations are eager now, more than ever before, to understand if the care they are providing is working. After all, you can’t manage what you can’t measure. The conversations we had around measurement-based care (MBC) and technology to automate the practice of MBC were extremely compelling and insightful.

  1. People (and dogs!) were ready to meet in-person againThe dog park at NatCon22

Networking and collaborating with others has been difficult since the pandemic changed the way we connect. NatCon22 gave us a safe space to meet with other behavioral healthprofessionals who have been dealing with the same challenges. From chatting in the exhibit hall to group meals to thought-leadership sessions, it felt great to connect face-to-face again. Plus, who wouldn’t agree one of the best parts about NatCon22 came in the form of furry friends looking for their forever home in the Pet Relaxation Park?

Did you miss NatCon22 or want to learn more about how Owl is addressing these key takeaways? Talk with us today.

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