Thursday, Jul 6, 2023 | 12:00 AM ET

S3 Ep54: Empowering Crisis Response and Treatment—featuring Nishi Rawat

Here’s an interesting take on leveraging existing technology and care structures to address the mental health crisis.

In this episode, Nishi Rawat, Chief Clinical Innovation Officer at Bamboo Health, talks about working with the OpenBeds initiative to improve access to mental health and substance disorder treatments. OpenBeds integrates with the new 988 crisis helpline, allowing for efficient digital intake, assessment, and dispatching of mobile crisis teams, keeping individuals out of hospitals and directing them to crisis stabilization units. She shares how 988 has received over 2 million calls, chats, and texts six months after its launch, highlighting the significant need for such services and the decrease in mental health stigma. Dr. Rawat also identifies physical pain, economic disparities, and mental distress as drivers of the mental health and substance use crisis, emphasizing that while technology can assist, hands-on care remains essential.

Listen to this episode and learn how Dr. Nishi Rawat is leading a fundamental transformation in healthcare for mental health access and treatment! 

About Nishi Rawat:

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 focuses on developing innovative solutions and products that improve whole-person care by bridging healthcare silos and reducing fragmentation across the healthcare industry, which 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 of OpenBeds in 2015, 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 in 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.

Things You’ll Learn:

  • OpenBeds develops digital networks and systems to facilitate closed-loop referrals for mental health and substance use services.
  • 988 serves as the behavioral health equivalent of 911, providing an easy-to-remember number for individuals in crisis to connect with a clinician or non-clinician via phone, text, or chat. 
  • The professionals at 988 listen, attend to the person's needs, and ensure they receive the necessary care.
  • Certain states have implemented a 988 tax to generate funds for the clinical infrastructure and technological integration required to support the crisis response initiative.
  • Within the first six months, the 988 helplines have recorded over 2 million calls, texts, and chats, highlighting its substantial usage and service demand.
  • The mental health and substance use crises are driven by physical pain, economic disparities, and mental distress.
  • While technology is valuable, more is needed to replace the vital role of hands-on care in effectively addressing these urgent challenges.


  • Connect with and follow Nishi Rawat on LinkedIn.
  • Follow Bamboo Health on LinkedIn.
  • Visit the Bamboo Health Website!
  • Discover more about the OpenBeds solution here!
  • Reach out to Bamboo Health at Connect@BambooHealth.com
  • Learn more about the SAMHSA 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline here!


Nishi Rawat, M.D., MBAChief Clinical Officer, Bamboo Health

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