Dr. Nishi Rawat on the opioid crisis: Let’s just do what works. || EP. 148

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Dr. Nishi Rawat

Laurie McGraw is speaking with Inspiring Woman Dr. Nishi Rawat, Bamboo Health’s Chief Clinical Officer.  In medical school, like most physicians, Dr. Rawat had little to no training on mental health or substance use disorder.  And yet, day in and day out, as a critical care physician this is what she was seeing.  Dealing with these medical issues, the overdoses, over and over without having the right tools at her fingertips, led Dr. Rawat to want to do more than just putting a band aid on this this public health emergency.


The reality is not pretty.  Over 110,000 deaths last year. Fentanyl on the rise.  Complex drivers of mental pain, physical pain, economic pain – all moving in the wrong direction.  Dr. Rawat discusses the role of stigma and bias, fundamentally at the root of payment parity issues (substance use disorder is not paid at par as physical disorders).  And while what works has been well known for forty years, a patient that presents to an ED with overdose will be connected to life saving evidence-based care only 10% of the time.


Dr. Rawat points to recent efforts of Medicaid incentives, providing community based localized care, the post pandemic stickiness of virtual care for behavioral health where people may want to remain anonymous, as the beginning of change.  But so much more is needed.  While the holy grail may be hyper localized virtual scalable care, Dr. Rawat emphasizes the importance of the low hanging fruit, let’s just do what works.


What keeps her going?  Working on one of the most intractable problems of our generation.  Knowing that she is working in an area where people are really suffering, and doing something about it.


And when asked about her best advice for other younger women, Dr. Rawat invokes Barbie.  How it is hard to succeed as a woman and consistently tie yourself in knots trying.
Her advice?  Don’t tie yourself up in knots.  And practice.  Practice untying a knot.


Guest Bio:

Nishi Rawat, MD, MBA, is a critical care physician and health leader working at the intersection of medicine, public health and technology. She has dedicated her career to improving healthcare access and outcomes for all with a focus on behavioral health within the lens of whole person care.

As Chief Clinical Officer at Bamboo Health, Rawat’s focus is on developing innovative solutions and products that improve whole person care by bridging healthcare silos and reducing fragmentation across the healthcare industry that will improve patient outcomes and reduce costs across the healthcare industry.

Rawat began her healthcare career as an emergency medicine and critical care physician at Johns Hopkins. As a healthcare faculty member and researcher, she led quality measure development and implementation at Johns Hopkins Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality. Clinically, she experienced the frustration of locating definitive care for patients with behavioral health conditions, which led to the development in 2015 of OpenBeds, a software platform to expedite access to care. In 2018, Bamboo Health acquired OpenBeds. The OpenBeds system now serves 15 states to improve access to behavioral health and crisis care. The OpenBeds platform was recognized as a “Best Behavioral Health Company” finalist for the UCSF Digital Health Awards in 2019. The platform’s Crisis Management System module was named a Best-in-Class finalist for the “Mental and Behavioral Health Category” of the UCSF Digital Health Awards in 2022.

Through her work, Rawat is intimately familiar with the challenges faced by various stakeholders, including the public, hospitals, health systems, health plans, treatment providers and county and state governments. She uses her current role to look for ways technology can help overcome those challenges, not by replacing providers, but by amplifying hands-on care.

As a member of Bamboo Health’s executive leadership team, Rawat uses her clinical expertise and experience building and innovating IT solutions as a thought leader. A sought-after speaker and contributor to external media, some notable contributions include being named to Becker’s “Women Power Players in Health IT” and “Women in Health IT to Watch in 2022 and 2023,” lists and serving as a keynote speaker for NCQA’s Quality Talks in 2022.

Rawat completed her residency and fellowships at Johns Hopkins and Harvard, M.D at Queen’s, B.Sc. from McGill and MBA from Georgetown.

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