Is Your Mental Health Clinic Ready for a New Era of Mental Health?

I might not be the best person to ask what the latest and greatest TikTok trends are, but I do know that the stigma around mental and behavioral health is decreasing and it’s now ‘cool’ to seek out mental health services these days. In 2018, 37.1 million adults —about 15% of the entire U.S. adult population—received mental healthcare during the 12 preceding months and we can assume the numbers have only gone up since the start of COVID-19.

Just as one might seek a personal trainer for physical fitness, it’s becoming increasingly popular for patients to seek a therapist to help resolve outstanding mental health issues, especially since more people are understanding how physical and mental health are closely correlated. These days, finding mental health services that can cater to a patient’s busy schedule and lifestyle is less of a worry since more providers are utilizing technology to modernize their clinics.

But there are many mental health providers who have yet to add technology to their workflows and patient collection processes. That begs the question – why is it important for a mental health clinic to do so?

Let me give you an example. In the Netflix hit thriller, You, John Stamos’ character looked pretty cool playing a therapist as he sat in his Eames chair, scribbling down notes with his old-school pencil on a paper notepad. What the series failed to show you was the endless hours that Dr. Nicky (Stamos) spent typing his notes after hours, duplicating documentation on his computer, which left room for human data entry error and general manual redundancy. If they had shown that, it would’ve been the scariest part of that show!
 

How can you prepare for the next generation of mental health care?


We know there are unique challenges when it comes to running a mental health clinic. You don’t just serve patients, you also manage staff, billing, regulations and all the other administrative burdens that come with managing a small business. Luckily, there are plenty of technology options available today that allow you to stay focused while offering holistic services to your clientele. Let’s break down each step of your mental health clinic’s workflow and discuss how key technology can effectively assist your teams in completing their duties:

FIRST – Do the right planning for your clinic to be successful.

Taking the right steps when setting up your clinic will help you increase patient volume, improve staff productivity, streamline care delivery, and provide a more positive patient experience. First, invest in a platform that allows you to deliver a complete consumer-centric experience. This will allow you take on new clients to help your bottom line, but also help them find you before they even book a visit. It is important to look for technology that serves beyond a standard EHR – such as offering unique features like patient portals, online social engagement and end-to-end patient collections. By being diligent during the planning phase and purchasing the right solution, health care practices and clinics have seen their patient volumes increase by as much as 60%.

SECOND – Map out what needs to occur before a patient’s visit.

Each patient’s experience with your clinic starts long before they contact you or your staff to set up their first visit. Therefore, obtaining new patients and managing referrals is key for your clinic. After all, 63% of respondents in a consumer survey said they would choose one provider over another due to a stronger online presence. Look for technology with the following attributes:

• Online appointment scheduling and confirmations
• Automated appointment reminders
Digital patient intake
• Online/batch eligibility checks

THIRD – Create efficiencies that will drive the positive care delivery outcomes during the visit.

Care delivery, from the moment a patient steps into your clinic to when they leave, should be a smooth process. Here’s how technology can not only modernize, but simply your patient’s visits:

• Digital Care Delivery Tools: Not to give paper a bad rap, but it’s certainly viewed as old school and can yield several security problems related because of exposed paper and manual data entry. Utilize online intake forms and kiosk options to not only prevent office clogs, secure patient data and even accommodate walk-in appointments. Not only is digitally charting key, but you can leverage digital screening tools (GAD-7, PHQ-9, etc.) to efficiently capture patient information before and during a visit.
• Telehealth: Patients prefer mental health providers that give them the option to access care virtually. Find a telehealth solution that is video-enabled, HIPAA compliant and integrated with an EHR.
• E-prescriptions: Using an electronic prescribing technology means you can trim down paperwork and time spent communicating with pharmacies, while enhancing patient safety.
Patient Collections: Find a technology that collects co-pays at the start of a visit, runs eligibility checks and has integrated credit card processing to capture those co-pays so you can collect your well-deserved revenues.

LAST – Create reoccurring future visits that will allow you to build and optimize your clinic’s long-term goals.

You don’t stop delivering care when your patient walks away, so your technology shouldn’t stop either. There are several tasks that technology can help with including post-care coordination, ongoing patient, claim processing features, CMS incentive programs, options for patient statements and collections, re-care reminders and practice analytics. These handy tools ensure that you can continue to deliver quality mental health care after the visit, while and that your clinic will get reimbursed.

For more information on this topic, download our free guide, Modernizing Your Mental Health Clinic to Save Time and Improve Care Delivery, here. Or to see how Kareo specifically helps mental health clinics, visit us at Kareo.com/mental-health.

About the Author

Emily Pathmajeyan is the Sr. Product Marketing Manager at Kareo.  She has over 10 year’s of experience in Strategic Marketing and Product Management, and is...

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