Contributor: Todd Charest
“Behavioral health is fundamentally and profoundly different than acute physical or medical care. Often in Behavioral Health and Human Services, goals and objectives are framed up in terms of behaviors and not procedures. Conditions are more difficult to diagnose and care is more complex and dependent upon environmental factors and relationships that go beyond the physical body. As a result, when you’re talking about thriving under a value-based care model, behavioral healthcare providers need to consider different data points and use a set of tools that are designed to support their unique needs.”
– Todd Charest, Chief Product Officer, Qualifacts
Value-based care makes sense. While a departure from the traditional fee-for-service model, it has the potential to help our industry support better outcomes, reduce waste in the system and curb ballooning costs. We want to reward providers for the treatments that deliver better health.
That said, it does require a different approach in the delivery and management of care. You can’t simply maintain the status quo to thrive in these new business models.
In recent years, Qualifacts has worked with many behavioral healthcare provider organizations to audit their existing processes and implement new technology-enabled processes designed to help them evolve within value-based care reimbursement models. While every agency is unique, below includes the three strategies that we’re seeing a lot of customers leverage to get improved results:
1. Comprehensive outcomes assessment tools that “pull” data throughout documentation.
As you know, value-based care is centered around outcomes. Supporting them. Documenting them. Reporting them. Providing care to clients with a behavioral health issue such as depression and addiction is often a long-term process with the goal of optimizing their quality of life versus curing a disease. Given that, clinicians need assessment instruments that can help them monitor how clients are responding to therapies and course-correct as needed. And to ensure that information is accurately analyzed over time to make data-driven decisions, many leading organizations are seeking electronic health record platforms that can automatically pull that information into the treatment plan as well – forming a continuous feedback loop.
2. Clinical decision support tools that can help you apply the most recent, evidence-based therapies.
If your organization’s revenue is tied to outcomes, you are always likely searching for new ways to elevate care quality and support better outcomes. Many leading behavioral health organizations are configuring business rules that actually trigger alerts within existing workflows and at the point of care. This enables providers to consistently leverage proven best practices throughout the care continuum.
3. Consumer engagement tools that empower clients and lower costs.
With value-based care, it’s about improving the quality of care while also managing the cost of care delivery. This is one of the reasons why I’ve seen the popularity of consumer engagement tools in behavioral health grow in recent years. You can put a tool in the client’s hands that they can access 24/7 to supplement your existing plan of care. And, for a relatively low cost. One important thing to note is that integration capabilities vary dramatically by vendor and by system. If you are shopping for a new EHR, I would highly recommend that you evaluate the interoperability of each vendor candidate and ask about their prior integrations projects.
If your organization is struggling to face the new challenges associated with value-based care, you’re not alone. Though, with the right technology partners, you can simplify the complexity associated with delivering the best care possible to help your clients move towards their personal goals and objectives. To learn more, I invite you to read a recent article I contributed for Health IT Outcomes which talks about using technology in this new era of value-based care.