Even if there isn’t global consensus about whether the pandemic is over or not, there is evidence that shows it has had a significant impact on mental health. Many people have experienced stress, anxiety, and increased substance use as a result of the pandemic and the related disruptions to their daily lives. The isolation and uncertainty caused by lockdowns and other measures to contain the spread of the virus, as well as the economic and social challenges that have arisen, all contributed to an overall increase in mental health issues.
Meanwhile, service disruptions and staffing shortages mean that patients who need care, can’t always get it. For example, the National Alliance on Mental Health found that 21% or 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. experienced mental illness in 2020. While circumstances have improved somewhat since then, today “too many people remain unable to get the care and support they need for both pre-existing and newly developed mental health conditions.”
The shortage of trained professionals in mental health care is a pivotal contributor to this problem. The good news is that technology can alleviate these and other pain points in the mental health industry. To that end, join us as we look at the current state of mental health, the impact of digital technologies on the people and organizations who use them, and the role that mental health software and behavioral health solutions can play to provide better outcomes for patients and providers alike.
What’s the Current State of Digital Technology Adoption in Mental Health Care?
For the 2022 Tech Experiences and Impact Report, ContinuumCloud surveyed 259 mental health, behavioral health, and human services executives across the country. We wanted to know what keeps them up at night and learn a bit about how they use technology. The report found that while the industry has been slower to adopt new technologies in the past, enterprise software solutions have increasingly become a necessity for mid-sized and larger organizations.
Today’s most successful mental health solutions include technologies that focus on improving and managing complex workflows so that the organization can operate more efficiently and resolve specific pain points within the industry. We found various levels of adoption based on software and features. Low adoption rates may indicate that an agency isn't getting all of the benefits from the technology.
- Practice management
- Clinical documentation
- Clinical reporting
- Caseload management
- Revenue cycle management and billing
- Patient Portal
- Surveys and questionnaires
- Peer support
- Patient engagement
- Patient education
- Patient and alums programming
The adoption rate of human capital management (HCM) and payroll software was higher than other types of practice management software. In the areas of payroll management, time and attendance, human resources management, and benefits management, we saw widespread adoption of technical administration. Most features showed limited adoption, with only credential management falling into the low adoption category.
Organizational Goals and Top Pain Points
Recruitment, engagement, and retention were behavioral health leaders' top priorities in our survey. We discovered that many factors contribute to human resource challenges, including staff shortages, increased demand for services, and COVID-related stressors. Research indicates that specific digital mental health solutions can address many of the most common industry pain points.
Ensure Integration and Interoperability of Telehealth With EHR
During the pandemic health crisis, we learned that patients preferred to receive treatment at home versus in person. Telemedicine and telehealth are increasingly used to deliver high-quality, value-based care and combat rising mental healthcare costs. But telehealth alone can’t deliver the high-quality mental health solutions your patients need.
Research shows that when telehealth coordinates with an electronic health record (EHR) system, it can improve health outcomes. When paired with a robust EHR system, telecare can help with mental health needs by increasing access, improving patient satisfaction, reducing medical spending, and streamlining the clinician experience. An integrated approach can contribute to achieving the quadruple aim of helping population health, reducing costs, and enhancing the quality of life for the patient and the caregiver.
The government recognizes the need for connected and integrated health data through the Meaningful Use and Promoting Interoperability programs. Be sure to partner with companies offering telemedicine and EHR tools that work together to help you meet Meaningful Use standards.
Address the Shortage of Mental Health Professionals
There are many challenges facing hospitals and health systems today — inflation, tight margins, staff burnout, and high patient volume, just to name a few. In the same way, there’s a critical shortage of mental health providers that must take center stage.
The shortage of mental health professionals in the United States makes it nearly impossible to treat everyone with mental illness. In fact, more than 150 million people live in areas where mental health professionals are in short supply. Experts predict that by 2025, there will be a shortage of between 14,000 and 31,000 psychiatrists, as well as overextended psychologists, social workers, and other mental health professionals.
We’ve discussed how telemedicine bridges treatment gaps and extends mental health care. As such, look for initiatives and digital tools that focus on recruitment, training, and retention. Companies that invest in talent management can see significant improvements in engagement and retention. Look for a unified HCM platform that provides the necessary tools to boost recruitment, encourage employee development, promote productivity, and help employers recognize team members who deserve the spotlight.
Deliver a Personalized Care Experience
Patients and their families expect a personalized healthcare experience. As a result, one-size-fits-all approaches to health care are increasingly becoming obsolete. Look for digital health tools that provide comprehensive health support through all facets of the patient's journey to health in a cost-effective way. To ensure that you consider individual needs, you must find ways to support precision care.
Mental Health Solution: Robust Electronic Health Record System
ContinuumCloud’s comprehensive EHR software includes a system of mental health solutions designed to improve system and practitioner efficiency, shorten and manage the revenue cycle, improve the delivery of quality care, and boost patient satisfaction.
Practice Management Tools
- Revenue cycle management
- Charge capture
- Billing and coding
- Insurance submission and denial management features
- Coding, billing, and revenue cycle management (RCM) processes
- Appointment scheduling and reminders
- Follow-up communication
- Patient portal with medical record access
- Contactless check-in
- Online payments
Clinical Support Technologies
- Clinical decision support
- Clinical documentation
- Templates and order sets
- E-prescribing tools
Mental Health Solution: Better Patient Engagement
When you create an engaged community, you enhance experiences not only for patients but also for alumni and providers. ContinuumCloud’s CaredFor patient engagement app extends the continuum of care through education that helps connect the dots for patients while empowering them to participate in and advocate for their well-being. The CaredFor app helps create a sense of connection and community among patients, alums, and their families by providing digital interventions like peer support, events, telehealth, and personalized care journeys.
Patient Education Library
Have you ever worried about the quality of information your patients get online? As part of the CaredFor app, ContinuumCloud technology helps you offer patients access to a curated patient library designed with your programming choices in mind.
Personalized Patient Care Journey
Now clinicians can convert a traditional care plan into a personalized digital roadmap. Care Journeys not only act as a guide for a better patient experience but also offer additional support and resources to each patient based on their precise needs. Create a patient’s Care Journey and schedule the delivery throughout their treatment plan.
Contingency Management (CM)
Engagement is the key to motivating patients to make positive changes. Patients who invest more time and effort in their health are more likely to take responsibility. And we know that boosting engagement can cause patients to adhere to treatment plans longer.
We know that people resistant to changing their behavior can benefit from CM, and when patients succeed, it helps them overcome guilt and self-blame over time. By using a pre-built platform, you can quickly and easily implement effective contingency management programs.
CaredFor app users can earn points and rewards for interacting with contingency management features. Contingency management is associated with longer periods of sobriety in patients with substance use disorder. Setting and achieving goals, connecting with peers on the app, attending teletherapy, and answering survey questions earn points. You choose the rewards as the program director, and CaredFor provides the program.
Surveys and Questionnaires
CaredFor uses microinteractions to deliver one- to two-question surveys. You can develop valid outcome measures using survey results. Self-evaluation surveys are effective because they help patients understand their progress.
Goal and Milestone Tracking
A goal-setting program can help patients modify behaviors and manage emotions. To maximize engagement, let patients share their progress with peers. Use the CaredFor app to help patients track essential milestones and map their goals.
Peer and Alumni Support Programs
Peer support programs significantly benefit behavioral health patients — some gain valuable insight and understanding of their condition through others’ experiences. Peer support programs let you observe how patients interact, and sharing perspectives may help patients develop coping skills.
The CaredFor app's online peer community helps people connect with those experiencing or having experienced similar situations. An engaging social media-like environment allows clinicians to schedule virtual support groups in a safe, moderated environment where patients and family members can connect 24/7 from any device across any platform. The CaredFor app even allows you to build alumni programming and helps caregivers and family members stay committed to your practice for longer.
Mental Health Solution: Human Capital Management (HCM)
Talent acquisition is a vital area of talent management. Recruiting and sourcing candidates who are the right fit for the role and the organization is essential. Employers can improve long-term retention and performance by investing more time and resources into attracting and identifying the best talent from the beginning. ContinuumCloud’s HCM system ensures candidates have an excellent experience throughout the hiring process.
Providing a positive onboarding experience is a surefire way to encourage employee engagement. An employee's first introduction to the company occurs during the hiring process, including the interview and onboarding phases. Using the right HR management system can streamline hiring and onboarding and reduce the repetitive data entry you have to do.
Providing access to all benefits information, training programs, and appropriate resources in one place is easy with ContinuumCloud's unified human capital management software that can help new employees better navigate the workplace.
Setting Goals and Tracking Performance
Goal setting is another critical element of talent management. You can communicate and effectively lead change by creating performance goals for employees and teams. Employees can read their progress reviews, conduct check-ins, and get assistance if they need it. You can also set team goals to help maintain company-specific targets.
ContinuumCloud makes it simple to create digital performance appraisals from the HCM dashboard. Tools and templates use rule-based configurations for better efficiency. Follow-ups, check-ins, and employee feedback can be automated using templates.
To succeed, you need a productive workforce that sets (and meets) goals, but you also need to ensure that you recognize your best employees. Recognition and rewards for top performers are essential components of talent management. Most employees believe their employers don't recognize and reward them adequately, and disengagement and poor morale can quickly result from a lack of recognition.
To track employee performance, managers and HR staff can monitor goal completion and productivity targets. Employers can also use ContinuumCloud's HCM system for monitoring a wide range of employee achievements and can create a rewards system directed at improving employee retention.
Training and Development
A key component of talent management is training and development. Training and talent development must continue after the employee begins working. When new hires are onboarding, they need assistance learning about the organization and its role in the industry. Later, employees benefit from continuing education.
Companies can develop a more skilled workforce by investing in training and development. Employers can connect goals and performance metrics to encourage ongoing growth with ContinuumCloud's HCM platform that allows employees to track professional development goals and training opportunities.
It’s Time to Take Mental Health Solutions to the Next Level
The growing need for mental health solutions cannot be overstated — and it’s a priority goal for those in behavioral health and human services. Be prepared for frank conversations between critical stakeholders about investing in mental health solutions. Take time to explain the importance of offering evidence-based mental health services that integrate with technologies that better serve your workforce and patients.
ContinuumCloud’s HCM solution is the only system designed specifically for the behavioral health and human services industry. When you learn how to streamline and automate workflows and tap into technology for an enterprise-level approach, you’ll facilitate better care for patients and a better work environment for your clinical and administrative staff. Connect with us today to learn how to put digital health technologies to work for you.