Behavioral health problems aren’t uncommon. According to the Maine Health Access Foundation (MEHAF), seven out of ten patients visiting a doctor’s office are seeking treatment for behavioral health issues. Depression, anxiety, diabetes management, weight reduction, smoking cessation, and alcohol or drug abuse are examples of these disorders.
As a result, an increasing number of healthcare practitioners are now offering their patients integrated mental health and primary care. But, first and foremost, what is behavioral health? Some people confuse the phrases ‘behavioral health’ with ‘mental health.’ There are, nevertheless, significant distinctions..
Behavioral health is the study of the relationship between one’s actions and one’s physical, mental, and spiritual health. This would cover how lifestyle choices such as eating, drinking, and exercising affect physical and mental health.
According to MEHAF’s definition of the term ‘behavioral health’ during the 1070s and 1980s, “it almost solely refers to practices that prevent illness or improve health.” Later on, the phrase was expanded to cover habits that aid in disease management. Behavioral health has been expanded to include mental health.
Other definitions of behavioral health demonstrate the term’s broad scope.
According to the National Business Group on Health, behavioral health refers to mental health, psychiatric, marriage and family therapy, addictions treatment, and includes services offered by social workers, counselors, psychiatrists, neurologists, and physicians.
Behavioral health encompasses a continuum of prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery support services for both mental health and substance abuse.
Mental health and substance abuse disorders, life stressors and crises, stress-related physical symptoms, and health habits are all covered under the umbrella term ‘behavioral health.’ Medical disorders are frequently influenced by behavioral health issues.
Integrated behavioral healthcare brings together medical and behavioral healthcare in one location to improve health and well-being. Integrated behavioral health care, which is part of ‘whole-person care,’ is a new trend in high-quality healthcare that is rapidly gaining traction. The ‘advanced patient-centered medical home’ has this as a core function.
Behavioral health integration, integrated care, collaborative care, and primary care behavioral health are all terms used to describe integrated behavioral healthcare. The goal is the same, regardless of what it is called: improved care and health for the whole individual.
Integrative behavioral healthcare providers understand that both medical and behavioral health aspects have a role in a person’s overall health. To address a patient’s concerns, medical and behavioral health doctors collaborate as a team. Unless patients want or require specialty treatments, these integrated teams provide care in the primary care setting. Better coordination and communication are a benefit, as is working toward a single set of overall health goals.
The following figures from the Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative show why when behavioral health is integrated into primary care, patient outcomes improve considerably. They go on to show why behavioral health integration is the key to bending the cost curve:
If the above numbers aren’t enough to persuade your practice that behavioral health integration is the best way to promote population health, consider the following financial benefits, which were also released by the Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative:
A mental health clinic’s personnel may be called upon to service patients and family members on any given day, just like any other medical office. When clients arrive for appointments, they are greeted, their insurance coverage and personal contact details are verified, and they are shown to pleasant exam or consultation rooms.
A nurse or medical assistant may collect vital signs and update the patient’s record, depending on the nature of the visit. This ensures that the file is current and accurate. Caring for the 25% of Americans who suffer from mental health illnesses, on the other hand, is typically more difficult than delivering primary care.
For the mental health population, finding a better model of integrating medical treatment with behavioral health services is crucial. Numerous studies show that when appropriate mental health and substance addiction therapy is provided alongside primary care services, medical outcomes for individuals with chronic and acute disorders improve.
Finding solutions that improve care delivery while addressing financial and organizational limitations is the issue. Software for Behavioral Health Practice Management could be the key to improving service delivery and patient results.
Mental health software, also known as behavioral health software, allows doctors, therapists, and other healthcare providers to manage their clinical, administrative, and operational workflows. The software also keeps track of patient cases and outcomes, as well as ensures regulatory compliance.
Administrators can use such software to improve the service delivery model by looking at workflow patterns and implementing more efficient, effective processes. The organization can better serve its clients by determining the needs of each patient, patient group, and individual team member.
Better services for behavioral health practices could include adopting regulations that allow for same-day appointments for external referrals, implementing an insurance pre-authorization strategy, or providing acute stabilization solutions for clients who can’t visit their preferred mental health expert.
Administrators of behavioral mental health clinics might also use such software to analyze staff skills and knowledge gaps.
A modern mental health EHR and mental health practice management software can be an appropriate match for your clinic, whether you specialize in individual therapy, group therapy, psychiatry, substance misuse, or any combination of specializations.
Providers can use it from anywhere and on any device with an internet connection because it is usually cloud-based and has a mobile-friendly interface.
Using modern mental health EHR software, office workers can collect and access payments and patient information, a patient can check-in via check-in kiosks, and clients can benefit from countless other features offered in the dedicated patient portal. Patients can also use the site to complete assessments, fill out the paperwork required by your practice, and make payments.
Such practice management software also automates medical invoicing, allowing you to set your own rules for the system to follow – all on the same platform where doctors enter psychotherapy notes.
Because of the numerous benefits that medical records software provides to both service providers and patients, Electronic Health Records (EHRs) continue to gain traction among both medical practitioners and paraprofessionals.
Behavioral health professionals are one of the most recent groups to embrace electronic health records, with “forty-six states…either incorporating or planning to incorporate electronic health records” in both psychiatric hospitals and community mental health services, according to the US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Here are the five most notable benefits of EHR for behavioral health providers and their patients: