The Intake

Insights for those starting, managing, and growing independent healthcare practices

Is your mental health practice ready for a new era?

Technology can help reduce administrative burdens and provide a more patient-centric experience — allowing mental health practices to deliver more quality care.

woman using technology for mental health practice

At a Glance

  • An increasing number of individuals in the U.S. are seeking mental healthcare services
  • Technology can alleviate administrative burdens such as managing staff, billing, and regulations — which can allow mental health practitioners to focus more on providing services to their clients
  • Implementing technology can also create efficiencies in care delivery, such as online appointment scheduling, digital patient intake, telehealth solutions, and more

Although there are still many people in the United States who aren’t receiving the mental healthcare they need, there seems to be an increasing number of individuals who are. Research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that the percentage of adults who had received mental health treatment in the past 12 months increased from 2019 to 2021, among both adults of all ages (from 19.2% to 21.6%) and those aged 18–44 (from 18.5% to 23.2%).

Just as one might seek a personal trainer for physical fitness, it’s becoming increasingly common 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 practices.

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 practice to do so?

If you’re a mental health practitioner who has spent endless hours typing notes and duplicating documentation on your computer (along with finding data entry errors and general manual redundancy) then it’s time to reassess your processes and enter in a new era of your work.

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 practice. 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 practice’s workflow and discuss how key technology can effectively assist your teams in completing their duties.

Do the right planning for your practice to be successful

Taking the right steps when setting up your practice 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 to 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. 

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

Each patient’s experience with your practice starts long before they contact you or your staff to set up their first visit. Therefore, it’s crucial to have a strong online presence.

3 in 4 people look online to find out about doctors, dentists, or medical care — and it’s especially important when people are searching for new care providers. A website is just the start; pay attention to reviews, online directories, and other digital touch points.

Some digital features to consider are:

• Online appointment scheduling and confirmations

• Automated appointment reminders

• Digital patient intake

Create efficiencies that will drive positive care delivery outcomes 

Care delivery, from the moment a patient steps into your practice 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: Sticking to paperwork poses to patient care can cause security problems related to exposed paper and manual data entry. Utilize online intake forms and kiosk options to prevent office clogs, secure patient data, and even accommodate walk-in appointments. Digital charts are key, and you can also 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.

Create recurring future visits that will allow you to build and optimize your practice’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, 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 visits, and that your practice will get reimbursed.

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Written by

Emily Pathmajeyan

Emily Pathmajeyan has over 10 years of experience in strategic marketing and product management, and is passionately driven to ensure practices have the solutions they need to deliver meaningful care to their patients.

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