The healthcare industry is in a state of flux. The emergence of “value-based care” and evolving reimbursement models means more pressure than ever to show value for healthcare professionals’ work.
Mental health practices are no different, and many are pressured to adopt new technologies that can help streamline their operations while providing better care. That’s where mental health practice management software comes in. It can help your practice reduce costs while improving patient outcomes through better data management and organization.
What is mental health practice management software?
Mental health practice management software is an application that helps mental health providers manage patient records, scheduling, billing, and more. It can help to streamline operations by automating repetitive tasks.
Increasing revenue enables you to improve your business. Last but not least, it can enhance the quality of care by empowering your staff with tools to support their work and make better decisions for patients.
In addition to all these benefits, a good tool will also help you increase patient satisfaction by giving them easy access to information about appointments and insurance coverage within their system.
Due to these benefits, the demand for mental health practice management software is increasing significantly. According to a report by Global Market Insights, the behavioural and mental health software market was $4,504.1 million in 2021 and is expected to reach close to 18.3 billion by 2030 with a CAGR of 17.3%.
Difference between mental health practice management software and EHR
Electronic Health Record software is the electronic medical record of your practice. It’s meant to store patient information in a database and make it easily accessible when you need it. The use of EHR is becoming widely popular in the healthcare industry. According to the HealthIT.gov website, 78% of private office-based physicians and 96% of hospitals have already adopted EHR by 2021.
On the other hand, mental health practice management software is a web-based software that can use EHR to improve your workflows and get more patients into treatment faster. While mental health software is less popular than EHR, it is gradually becoming ubiquitous.
You may be wondering how these two things differ. The answer is in how they’re used throughout the day and what functions each offers. EHRs are usually installed on one computer at a time, while mental health practice management systems are accessed through a web browser from any device with an internet connection.
EHR manages what happens once you enter information into its system. Mental health practice management software tracks every transaction throughout the day, from scheduling appointments to gathering patient payment information after services have been rendered.
Benefits of mental health practice management software
Mental health practice management software can offer numerous benefits, including:
- Reduced costs. Mental health practice management software will help you reduce your overhead costs by automating routine tasks, such as scheduling appointments and generating invoices. This will free up more time for you to focus on what’s important: patient care.
- Improved efficiency. The best mental health practice management software is designed to increase efficiency by enabling practices to do more with less, including saving time, money, and energy spent on administrative tasks like data entry or searching for information. It also allows for easier access to critical data at a moment’s notice by ensuring that any changes are automatically reflected in other applications (e.g., billing).
- Improved patient care. You know you’re doing things right when everything works smoothly from start to finish, from scheduling appointments to treatment completion. For example, many hospitals use electronic medical records (EMRs) to track patient care, and treatment plans that help doctors and medical professionals provide more personalised patient care. This means they can better manage chronic illnesses like diabetes or asthma, reducing hospital stays and saving money on healthcare costs.
Common features of a mental health practice management software
While each mental health software can offer unique features, some common ones remain the same across all software. Here are those standard features of mental health practice management software.
- Appointment scheduling. It’s important to have a schedule that allows you to manage your practice and plan for future patient visits efficiently. Mental health practice management software can help you create, edit and view schedules from anywhere at any time. This feature allows you to ensure no conflicts in dates or times on the day of appointments, saving you time in scheduling and avoiding patient cancellations.
- Billing and insurance. Billing is an integral part of running a mental health office. It reassures patients that they’ll be able to pay for their treatment through insurance coverage or other payment methods such as personal or cashier’s checks. Most billing services automatically enter charges into your bank account after each session, so there isn’t much work involved beyond checking the balance from time to time. You may also want software with integrated billing options if your business requires special coding or filing procedures because this will save time and money.
- Telehealth. Telehealth uses information and communication technologies to provide clinical assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up care for patients who are not physically present in the clinic. This includes video conferencing, email and secure messaging, and web-based programs. Although telehealth was primarily adopted as a response to Covid, studies show that the use of telehealth for mental health services continues to be useful even after the pandemic. For example, a McKinsey survey concludes that while Americans still delay many healthcare services, the high use of telemental health remains high and steady.
- Reporting and analytics. Reporting is one of the essential features of any software, especially if you are a business owner. You need to know how your business performs and where it can be improved. Without proper reporting tools, you can’t make informed decisions about the direction of your business. Moreover, the use of analytics can also help with prediction. Suppose one of your patients keeps facing depression now and then. You can use predictive analytics to predict future mental health problems that the patient may face and take measures to prevent them. A recent study published in the Hindawi journal shows that Artificial Intelligence and Big Data, IoT devices, and social media can help predict mental health illness with predictive analytics.
Mental health practice management software is invaluable for any therapist looking to save time and streamline their operations. The benefits of this type of software go far beyond simply tracking patient data. There isn’t anything better than having access to such an incredible resource at your fingertips whenever needed, especially when it comes to billing.
Ellen Diamond did her degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. She is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.