November 18, 2021
Trafalgar Addiction Treatment Centers, a CARF accredited private provider of addiction and mental health services, was established in 2013 under Shane Saltzman’s leadership. Shane and his team always looked to build on the success of Trafalgar’s residential program, with the addition of a telehealth operations strategy as a way to increase program accessibility and grow their organization beyond in-patient services.
However, Shane didn’t want Trafalgar to leverage “another quick virtual care solution”, such as a simple video conference platform, and instead wanted their virtual programs to offer the same integrity and innovation that Trafalgar’s in-person programs were known for. Shane chose OnCall as Trafalgar’s end-to-end telehealth solution because it enables Trafalgar’s providers to deliver a complete telehealth experience through synchronous and asynchronous tools, maximize efficiency for providers, and ultimately help Trafalgar grow their programs and evolve into a leading virtual addiction and mental health organization.
“Transforming Trafalgar’s in-patient programming with OnCall’s telehealth solution has allowed us to grow our clinical team from 3 to 22, with more therapists joining each month.”
CEO Trafalgar Addiction Treatment Centers
Shane’s plans to launch Trafalgar’s telehealth strategy was accelerated when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020. Trafalgar closed its doors to visitors and stopped all in-person therapy in an effort to keep their community safe. It was then that Shane and his team recognized the immediate need for an alternative in virtual care. Shane knew that a simple video conferencing tool was not enough to build and scale Trafalgar’s telehealth operations strategy.
OnCall worked with Trafalgar to rapidly launch their telehealth program, including digital booking and synchronous and asynchronous tools, in just a few days. With their new telehealth strategy. After several months, Trafalgar expanded their programming nationally with a branded app combating both accessibility challenges and privacy concerns with virtual care. In fact, “patient groups, initially anywhere from six to ten people, were still making the same types of connections and bonds through our virtual programs that they would’ve made in a physical setting.”
Trafalgar’s virtual treatment programs have grown exponentially since then. The pandemic created an immediate need for virtual care, but it was clear that this alternative model was delivering value in new and accessible ways. Because providers and patients are no longer limited by physical or geographical constraints, Trafalgar has added multiple programs to it’s virtual outpatient model, including a robust aftercare program where graduates can access virtual support groups three times a day every day of the week.
Most importantly, Shane says, “Trafalgar has been able to advance our program with more customized process groups to target clients’ specific needs.” For example, Trafalgar now offers programming for PTSD, gambling, domestic violence, and sex love addiction (SLA). Because OnCall enabled Trafalgar to configure multiple programs under one solution– all with different conditions and rules based on program requirements, client needs, and locations– they have a greater clinical roster with a wider variety of programs, a more diverse client group, and the platform to “properly support those clients in specific groups.”
OnCall’s usability is also effortless for providers and patients. With OnCall’s branded apps and patient and provider support features, Trafalgar was able to ensure that patients onboard to the platform, test their video application and internet speed, and use one solution for their appointments, files and forms, and more. Patients also felt safe and secure sharing their information and data with providers through OnCall, since OnCall’s solution is PIPEDA and PHIPA certified.
For example, Trafalgar’s client’s often need to share previous psych assessments, medical information, and legal documents, which are required for the clinical team to provide appropriate care. “OnCall moves that exchange from unsecure email and puts it right where it should be– in OnCall’s secure client portal and in the client’s specific roster profile,” says Shane. OnCall’s content sharing tools through digital files & forms also enable providers to share various homework exercises, recommended readings, client-centered treatment plans, or any other document that can be worked on together through OnCall’s collaborative whiteboard features. Clients are especially happy with OnCall’s platform, and Trafalgar has seen a 95% program completion rate in the past year.
“As innovators, we need to ensure that OnCall’s content tools are engaging and part of each client’s care plan. Trafalgar’s providers can augment in-person interactions with additional resources to help support our clients around the clock. Content tools compliment in-person care to make our programming connected, deep, and meaningful.”
Trafalgar’s biggest investment in telehealth came with the launch of their branded Virtual Rehab Addiction Program, a 4-week individual and educational therapy program that is low cost and flexible for those seeking addiction treatment from the comfort of their own home.
The goal of this program is to provide earlier intervention to people struggling with addiction and mental health challenges while increasing accessibility to care through a trusted telehealth platform. Shane says that “unlike unsecure email, EMRs, and video conference solutions, which fail to meet the complete needs of clients undergoing treatment, our therapists require an integrated and unified tool that helps us manage operations, engage clients, and provide care easily and with value.”
Measuring this value against business goals and client health outcomes is especially significant as more clients seek care. Shane and his team leverage OnCall’s analytics feature to measure the impacts of telehealth on their business and organization. They can see appointment no-shows, billing rates, and appointments scheduled. They can also share patient satisfaction surveys, lifestyle questionnaires, and more, to capture patient health outcomes.
“The Trafalgar program is unique and special, with no other organization focusing on concurrent disorders and treatment. It’s important for our brand to be front and center, so patients have comfort in knowing who they are receiving treatment from.”
Trafalgar always believed that a strong telehealth strategy would contribute to their organization’s overall growth; however, Shane and his team thought it would take time for it to be widely accepted by clients. Trafalgar’s successful pivot to virtual addictions programming through OnCall has created new opportunities for accessibility to intensive mental health and addictions support throughout Canada.
By offering care that fits into client lifestyles, including self-led programming, Trafalgar has been able to acquire clients they were unable to target previously. This includes clients in remote areas, clients who are unable to take time off work, or clients who need support but feel more comfortable receiving it from home. Although the pandemic forced Trafalgar to quickly implement a virtual care strategy, the change ultimately made virtual group therapy acceptable and even more engaging than they imagined.
Confidentiality and privacy assurances were completed during OnCall’s implementation and Trafalgar’s clinician team was trained immediately, giving them the confidence needed to initially launch telehealth successfully and encourage clients to partake in virtual care. The results were, and still are, overwhelmingly positive. Not only are the therapeutic benefits clear, but Trafalgar has increased client enrollment by more than 115% in the last half of 2021, with more than 12 programs available to clients. They’ve also billed 250% more than they did pre-telehealth.
Finally, says Shane, “whether you are in Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, Saskatchewan, Collingwood, Toronto, or the Maritimes, you can access a Trafalgar Addiction Treatment Centre Virtual Addiction Rehab Program. Accessibility means greater health equity and better health outcomes across society as a whole. The need for better mental healthcare has never been more apparent, and virtual care through OnCall allows us to do this and so much more.