Empowering the Behavioral Health System with Home-Based Technology Solutions

The following is a guest article by Eric Elliott, CEO at Altruix

It is an exciting time to be in the behavioral health industry. From the massive expansion of telehealth brought on by the pandemic to prescription video games, promising new technological advancements coupled with a reduced stigma towards behavioral health conditions are making mental healthcare more accessible than ever before.

With all of the strides forward in behavioral health, it is easy to overlook the fact that this is also a challenging time to be in the field. Here in the US, the opioid crisis, a massive increase in demand for services, a troubling 16 percent of youth dealing with a mental health disorder, and prevalent staffing shortages leading to massive burnout among professionals are all contributing to a pivotal point in behavioral health. The entire industry is under a microscope, and how we treat individuals seeking care now will define future opportunities for funding, research, and the continual march toward a higher standard of care that our society needs.

Technology, particularly home-based health devices, can help to overcome certain behavioral health hurdles. However, it is important to utilize technology in a way that keeps people at the center of every treatment decision. Focusing on person-centered care, home-based health technology can be a powerful tool that has the potential to revolutionize the healthcare landscape and restore personal dignity to those in need.

Adherence Technology in Support of Home-Based Independence

Individuals struggling with mental health and substance use disorders have particularly benefited from the advancement of home-based healthcare technology in recent years.

The compelling case of an individual I will call Diana, a woman battling major depression and anxiety, vividly demonstrates the transformative impact of home-based technology on individual lives.

Living alone without a natural support system, Diana’s battle with major depression left her nearly homebound. The weight of her anxiety often became unbearable, leading her to take all of her anxiety medication early, which left her without treatment for the rest of the day. This dangerous cycle led to thoughts of suicide, repeated visits to the Emergency Department, hospitalizations, and other crisis services. It was a critical situation that required an innovative solution.

Fortunately, Diana had access to assertive community services in her city, and with it, the introduction of a remarkable device called Medherent. Medherent is a smart medication vending machine designed to provide individualized home-based medication support. It ensures that each individual receives the right medication at the right time, promoting medication adherence and independence.

When Diana began using the Medherent device, she was able to successfully avoid crises and hospitalizations, regaining a sense of control over her well-being that she had long yearned for.

The key to Diana’s success lies in the personalized nature of the technology, addressing the unique needs and challenges of each individual. While self-managing medications had not been the right fit for Diana, the introduction of a person-centered medication support solution allowed her to maintain her independence even during the challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns.

Bridging Gaps in Behavioral Health Services

Home-based, technology-supported care, like that offered through the Medherent device, is a lifeline to a healthcare system in dire need of transformation. Burdened with staffing shortages, a rising number of behavioral health diagnoses, and a shortage of hospital beds, behavioral health facilities are desperate for new, more efficient solutions.

Recent research has highlighted the myriad benefits of home-based care technologies, not only for the individuals receiving the care but also for the healthcare system as a whole. This model of care has been shown to decrease the number of hospital stays and the length of those stays, ultimately reducing the overall cost of healthcare. However, the most crucial benefits of home-based care are the improvements in individual well-being and the restoration of personal dignity.

Personalized Care and Enhanced Support

One of the core advantages of home-based care is the level of personalization it offers. Individuals like Diana, who have complex medication regimens, can benefit greatly from personalized solutions like Medherent. A person-centered approach can significantly improve something like medication adherence, a critical factor in managing chronic conditions and mental health disorders. Home-based care technologies provide a potential level of attention and customization that is sometimes lacking in traditional healthcare settings.

Another crucial aspect of home-based care is an enhanced support system. In Diana’s case, the Medherent device not only dispensed medication but also provided a sense of security. Smart devices can be connected to healthcare professionals, who remotely monitor an individual’s behavior and intervene if any issues arise. This ongoing support helps individuals like Diana regain a sense of control over their lives.

Isolation is a common issue for individuals dealing with mental health conditions, and although it may seem counterintuitive, technology can help improve access to positive social interactions. With the right tools and technology, home-based care provides individuals with the ability to actively manage their well-being, fostering a sense of self-reliance. Allowing individuals to regain independence and get back to a sense of normalcy, home-based technological solutions help people return to their communities.


In many ways, home-based health technology is the natural next step in the evolution of behavioral healthcare. Individuals who face the daunting challenges of mental health conditions and substance use disorders need ongoing support, but they also need a sense of control over their own lives. A person-centered, technologically-supported, home-based approach not only allows people to manage their well-being independently, it provides a more cost-effective and efficient model of care for a healthcare system under strain.

As technology continues to advance, the potential for home-based care to make a lasting impact on the lives of individuals like Diana is boundless. As long as technology solutions take into account the unique needs of each person in need of care, the behavioral health space can continue on an upward, exciting trajectory.

About Eric Elliott 

Eric Elliott serves as Chief Executive Officer at Altruix, a high-touch long-term care and specialty pharmacy providing services for behavioral health and intellectual & developmental disability providers. Eric is also Lead Independent Director at Welldyne, a full-service pharmacy benefit manager servicing membership through health plan and employer direct agreements. Prior to these roles, Eric led three organizations operating in the pharmacy benefit management industry. In his most recent operating role, he was Prime Therapeutics’ President and Chief Executive Officer (April 2010 – April 2015). Eric also held the roles of president at Cigna Pharmacy Management and president at Aetna Pharmacy Management. He received his bachelor’s degree in management and finance, and a Master of Business Administration from Temple University in Philadelphia. He served for many years on the board of directors at Prime Therapeutics, the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, Main Street America (a super-regional property and casualty insurance provider), Voluntis S.A., and the Twin Cities American Heart Association.

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