Virtua Health collaborates with Woebot Health to deliver adjunctive mental health tool

Virtua Health and Woebot Health recently announced a collaboration that allows Virtua Health primary care clinicians and specialists to provide Woebot for Adults as a clinically directed adjunctive tool for people waiting to see a behavioral health provider or seeking support outside of traditional in-person therapy sessions.

Woebot for Adults is a mental health tool that provides in-the-moment support to people experiencing symptoms of anxiety and depression.

As part of the collaboration, the Virtua Health team will work with Woebot to implement a shared resource center providing the training, deployment and reporting resources to deliver Woebot for adults within the organization’s clinical care pathway.

The organizations are kicking off their collaboration in advance of the typically stress-filled holiday season and expect to expand it in the future. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The collaboration will also add to the industry’s understanding of the benefits of digital therapeutics by assessing aggregate patient outcomes, health care resource utilization and health economics results.

Virtua Health, South Jersey’s largest health care provider, is an academic not-for-profit health care system that operates a network of hospitals, surgery centers, physician practices and more.

According to the American Psychological Association, as many as 70% of primary care visits are prompted by patients’ psychological problems, including anxiety and depression. Like many health care organizations across the U.S., Virtua Health is seeing skyrocketing demand for behavioral health care colliding with limited clinician availability and a shrinking workforce. Patients with behavioral health issues currently wait nearly a month to see a clinician, and the vast majority of those who are referred to a clinician don’t keep the first appointment.

“Our recent community needs assessment showed behavioral health access continues to be a top priority in our area, but that affordability, trust and practical considerations are roadblocks to getting help,” Virtua Health Senior Vice President and Chief Digital Transformation Officer Dr. Tarun Kapoor said. “Woebot is the innovative tool that has the potential to address many of the problems that our providers and our community are facing.”

“We’ve seen increasing interest from health systems who want to augment care and support patients with 24/7 mental health support,” Woebot Health CEO Michael Evers said. “But Virtua Health is unique in its holistic approach to breaking through access obstacles with a complete implementation program that will get tools into the hands of people who need them most. We’re very excited to see how this approach can benefit patients, clinicians and the health system as a whole.”