What Providers Need to Know About Outcomes-Driven Care

As someone who provides behavioral healthcare services, you know the importance of accreditation. Accreditation through bodies like the Joint Commission and the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities shows that your organization adheres to certain standards and provides a certain quality of care. It indicates to patients that your services are worth utilizing and funding. 

In addition to accreditation, there are new ways in which standards are being developed in behavioral healthcare. Outcomes-driven care is a crucial example.

What Is Outcomes-Driven Care?

Outcomes-driven care is a self-reflective process an organization engages in to provide quality care. It involves constantly collecting and analyzing data on patient outcomes to inform and improve practice. Collecting data on patient outcomes is not uncommon, as it is vital information when reporting to stakeholders and for use in attracting new patients. 

Data can do so much more for your organization. What makes outcomes-driven care necessary is the integration of that data into treatment. It is an interactive and continually improving process rather than a formality. 

There is a discrepancy between the results of mental health interventions in controlled trials and the results of interventions used with real patients in behavioral health settings. Those interventions tend to perform better and generate better results in clinical trials. This indicates a need to evaluate how interventions are being implemented in the real world to learn how they can be improved and better help clients. In fact, the utilization of outcomes-driven care in therapy and psychiatric medication management has been demonstrated to yield better results.

How Will Outcomes-Driven Care Help My Organization?

Knowledge is power. Knowing what is working and what needs improvement can save time and money and direct your energy where it is most needed. If you have a program that is struggling, spending time analyzing it can help you determine how it can be improved or if it is even worth salvaging. Finding that some of your services are not as effective as you would like them to be is powerful information. Rather than being a sign of failure, it is an opportunity to provide better care to your patients and grow your reputation accordingly.

When outcomes-driven care is utilized, patients tend to see an improvement in their symptoms at a more rapid rate. Part of this is due to their involvement in their care. The process of continually reporting their symptoms through questionnaires can help them develop more insight into their condition. This insight can be used to better describe their experience and recognize both positive and negative changes. 

Furthermore, the practice of asking for client feedback can be empowering. Patients who participate in data collection for outcomes-driven care tend to feel more respected and have the opportunity to engage more intimately with their care. Mental health treatment is an inherently collaborative process, and outcomes-driven care can put this at the forefront of your organization’s approach.

What Are the Benefits of Outcomes-Driven Care?

Outcomes-driven care holds many benefits for providers as well. Mental health treatment can fall into subjective territory when progress is not appropriately tracked. Seeing a lack of tangible progress can be incredibly discouraging to mental health practitioners. Having clear markers of treatment progression from data collection and analysis can spark motivation. Even when the data reveals that a certain intervention is not working as well as was hoped, having that information empowers the clinician to take a different approach rather than treading water with the same ineffective one.

Consistent data tracking can also facilitate collaboration between different providers. Having access to progress metrics can help the different members of a patient’s care team better attend to patient needs. When everyone is on the same page, clinicians can better cooperate and take a uniform approach to patient care.

In this industry, we recognize the importance of mental health. A lack of mental well-being can yield a cascade of negative effects in a person’s life. Even with this clear indication of its importance, mental health is often sidelined when compared to physical health. This is represented in the discrepancy between the compensation of mental health clinicians and providers focused on physical health. Outcomes-driven care generates data that can prove the value and worth of mental health providers to payers who participate in these unfair compensation strategies.

How Can I Get Started?

Outcomes-driven data is powerful, but it is not unobtainable. Much of the data collection you will need to undertake can be done within your organization’s Electronic Medical Record (EMR). Setting up patient portals to collect data can make the process even smoother.

In order for outcomes-driven care to be effective, it needs to follow a few core tenets. At the most basic level, your organization needs to collect the right type of data. This will require thinking about what programs are most important to focus on and how you plan to utilize the data you collect. Once you choose a target and data collection method, it is important to be consistent in how often you collect information. Frequent collection will provide the most data points and yield clearer results. 

Allowing providers to participate in the customization of questionnaires and templates will give you essential insight into the most helpful information to collect for clinical implications. Additionally, centering the patient’s experience and using this as an opportunity to collaborate can improve the therapeutic alliance and increase engagement. 

Outcomes-driven care is an exciting direction for behavioral healthcare to be moving in. It has the opportunity to improve client outcomes, increase clinician satisfaction, and demonstrate the value of mental health treatment to payers. Organizations will need solid data management strategies to be prepared for this new landscape. Lightning Step has an All-In-One solution that will meet your needs with a single comprehensive system. We combine Customer Relation Management (CRM), Revenue Cycle Management (RCM), and EMR in one integrated interface. Our robust EMR with a patient portal will make data collection, management, and analysis easy. Our lightning threading technology autogenerates data throughout the system, facilitating collaboration between providers and across departments. Contact us at (833) 957-2888 to schedule a demo.

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