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What is Kanban and How Can It Help Your Behavioral Health Practice?

Kanban is a visual system that helps manage workflow. The word “kanban” is Japanese for “visual signal” or “card.” This system can help teams communicate the work to be done and when to do it, and can help identify and fix bottlenecks to help the work proceed most efficiently.

Taiichi Ohno, an industrial engineer for Toyota, used a form of Kanban in the Toyota Production System, known as Lean Manufacturing in the United States, to eliminate waste. This helped Toyota achieve a just-in-time production control system, increasing their productivity and limiting costly inventory of raw materials and half-finished products.

The main tool in Kanban is a visual Kanban board. This board can be electronic, such as an Excel spreadsheet or an app like Trello, or a physical board on an office wall. At its most basic, this board will include three columns: “To do,” “Doing,” and “Done.” These columns can be further divided to accommodate more complex processes.

With Kanban, the goal is to limit the number of tasks in the “Doing” column at any one time. When one task is finished, the next one is brought into play.

Benefits of Kanban

Organizations that adopt a Kanban system can expect numerous benefits, such as:

  • Transparency
    Everyone involved can look at the Kanban board and know the state of the process, and what still needs to be done and when.
  • Reduction of wasted work
    Work is only done as needed, reducing the risk of starting or finishing a task too soon.
  • Reduced multitasking and overburdening
    Teams attempt to limit the amount of work in any one column. Limiting the amount of work-in-progress can prevent them from trying to do too much at once.
  • More collaboration
    Instead of each person working on their own isolated to-do list, team members who use a Kanban board can see the status of each task, and what everyone has left to do.

How is BestNotes using Kanban?

BestNotes has incorporated Kanban into our software development processes. We visualize our work using a Kanban board to help limit work-in-progress and increase efficiency. Teams meet regularly to examine our Kanban board and decide which tasks to make a priority for the week.

Can your practice use Kanban?

Even behavioral health providers can apply the Kanban system. How can you start?

Create a Kanban board, either electronic or physical, to visualize all your work.
Limit work-in-progress. Collaborate with coworkers and break down each project into simple tasks.
Manage workflow. Use the Kanban board to identify bottlenecks and become more aware of how to prioritize work.
Make your policies clear.
Use feedback. Meet with team members regularly to identify priorities and consider where you can make improvements.
Use the scientific method to make changes. Create a hypothesis, then do an experiment to test that hypothesis. Analyze the data and draw a conclusion. Report on whether your results support your hypothesis or not.

Want to learn more about Kanban and how you can incorporate it into your practice? Interested in an EHR system that emphasizes collaboration and efficiency?
Contact BestNotes today.

date:  Oct 05, 2018
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What Providers Should Tell Family Members About Addiction

Addiction can affect whole families.

Here are some tips for getting families on board for treatment.

Encourage family involvement in recovery.

Because addiction can impact entire families, recovery should involve whole families, as well. Addiction treatment professionals should encourage family members to support the patient seeking recovery. Providers should encourage families to maintain healthy boundaries, be united in their support of the patient, and avoid the temptation to shift blame to others.

Emphasize the individual’s responsibility.

While social support is valuable for addiction recovery, it is ultimately up to the individual. The patient must understand that he or she is responsible for his or her own behavior and commitment to recovery. The family should support addiction recovery efforts, but they are not responsible for an individual’s success.

Clarify your role as a health provider.

Addressing addiction can be an emotional ordeal for many family members, and some individuals can become defensive or deny the problem. Even if patients or loved ones do not want to address addiction, explain that it is your role as the medical provider to offer health recommendations. Let them know that you will come back to the issue at future visits.

Offer specific medical reasons.

Make sure you are giving patients and family members specific medical reasons for your recommendations. If there are doubts about the extent of the problem, let them know what health issues are connected to drug or alcohol addiction. Take time to explain these reasons in plain language and address questions and concerns.

Ask about past recovery attempts.

In order to make the best recommendations for a patient struggling with substance use disorder, the provider must first understand what patients and families have already tried. Ask if the patient has tried to quit substance abuse in the past. If so, ask about those methods and if there were withdrawal symptoms.

Stress the importance of a new approach.

Sometimes families may have difficulty accepting when current methods of recovery have not worked. Providers have greater results when they have taken the time to discuss all practical options for recovery. This may include alternative methods of pain relief (if the addiction involves opiates), attending a support group, or pursuing medication-assisted treatment.

Be aware of the language techniques.

It may not help patients or family members to use words such as “alcoholic” and “addict,” not only because they may be offended, but because they may have their own personal definition. Many people with unhealthy alcohol consumption, for example, have a specific idea of what an “alcoholic” looks like, and insists they do not meet the criteria. Providers are tasked with helping to define the substance use disorder.

We would love to show you how BestNotes can help make your life easier!  Contact us today!

date:  Oct 02, 2018
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News Roundup: Addiction and Behavioral Health in Idaho

Idaho has its own specific challenges in behavioral health and addiction treatment. Here is the latest news from around the state.

Blue Cross of Idaho Implements New Guidelines for Opioid Prescriptions

Blue Cross of Idaho, which insures about 542,000 state residents, is taking steps to curb the rise of opioid addiction. This is partly a response to new research and guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The new guidelines from Blue Cross of Idaho state that opioids should have limited strength and should be prescribed for as brief a period as possible. The company recommends that immediate-acting options take priority over extended-release forms. Blue Cross of Idaho also moved naloxone to the top tier on its formulary, which will reduce copays for its generic form.

Breaking Down Barriers to Mental Health in Rural Idaho

Idaho social worker Shawn Briley takes a unique, personalized approach to increasing access to mental health treatment in rural Idaho. Although the licensed clinical social worker has an office, she also meets clients wherever necessary, such as behind a gas station parking lot or at homes in remote areas.

About 20 percent to 30 percent of rural Idaho residents lack health insurance, and such communities tend to have fewer mental-health specialists. Residents may have to drive an hour or more to a therapist’s office. Telehealth options could help reduce some of these barriers. The state is also encouraging more private health providers to make house calls.

Idahoans Rally for Addiction Recovery

As part of National Recovery Month, hundreds of state residents gathered in Boise on September 3 to support and celebrate individuals who are recovering from drug and alcohol addiction. The event aimed to reduce the stigma associated with addiction and mental illness. Attendees also emphasized that addiction recovery should be a community-wide effort, with success largely dependent on how much social support a person receives.

FDA Warns About Youth Vaping

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has called youth vaping a “national epidemic” that threatens the health of U.S. teens. Although many people think e-cigarettes are safer than traditional cigarettes, the devices can still lead to nicotine addiction. Some research also found a risk for “popcorn lung,” a disease linked to the flavoring chemical diacetyl.

A 2017 survey found that about 59 percent of Idaho high-school students used electronic vaping products. As the FDA works to update guidelines on vaping, local vape stores also have stepped up efforts to limit sales to minors.

Resource Fair Hopes to Help Released Inmates

Community organizations and government agencies gathered in Pocatello on Sept. 13 to explore how to improve outcomes for released inmates. This Community Information and Resource Fair mimicked earlier events in Boise and Idaho Falls. One aim of the fair was to explore how to prevent relapses among released offenders and make sure that individuals in need receive help with issues like addiction and mental illness.

Looking to improve your behavioral health or addiction treatment practice in Idaho? Contact BestNotes today to learn how we can help.

date:  Sep 25, 2018
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Choosing the Best CRM Option for Behavioral Health and Addiction Treatment

Many behavioral and mental health providers and addiction treatment professionals understand the value of electronic health records (EHRs). But does your practice also need customer relationship management (CRM) software?

Here is some information to consider:

What is a CRM?
CRM software generally helps an organization collect and organize customer contact information and manage relationships with current and potential customers. The primary aim of CRM is to build and maintain client relationships.

Depending on the software, CRM programs can also help track which team members have been in contact with a customer, what services a customer has purchased, and what products they may be interested in.

A CRM solution developed specifically for healthcare should be able to use different types of data, such as demographics and financial information, to give you a full view of a patient’s habits and activities. This helps you communicate with and retain patients.

What can CRM do for health providers?

Using CRM software can help health providers in a variety of ways.

Collect and organize patient data from multiple sources to create a complete picture of a patient
Help manage marketing campaigns
Measure and report the success of patient marketing and engagement strategies
Use data to personalize communications with patients

Are there federal requirements for health CRM?

The federal government does not currently have requirements specifically for CRM software. However, providers should make sure their CRM solutions adhere to all federal regulations that apply to the provider.

For example, HIPAA rules apply to any provider that transmits any electronic billing information to any health insurance company. Since this applies to most behavioral health providers, any CRM software that providers use must also be HIPAA-compliant.

To meet HIPAA requirements, CRM software should include:

Data encryption, including secure messaging
Audit logs that determine which user accessed which data
Restricting user access only to data which is necessary for them to see
Authorization forms signed by patients
Regular backups

What else should providers keep in mind?
When choosing a CRM solution, it can be helpful to work with a vendor who already provides your EHR software. This may not always be the case, however. If you are choosing a CRM vendor from scratch, there are some other questions you should ask about your practice that can help you choose the best solution for your needs.

What specific problems do you want CRM software to help solve?
How do you intend to use CRM?
What kind of data do you need to track and manage?
Who in your practice will be using CRM the most? Will the solution help them do their job better?
Will the CRM tools easily integrate with your existing software and tools?
What kind of training, customer service, and troubleshooting does the vendor provide?
Does the vendor provide regular updates to their products?
Is the product mobile-friendly?
Can the solution be adapted to changes in your practice’s needs?
Will it help your practice meet both short- and long-term goals?

For an EHR solution that includes CRM tools designed specifically for behavioral health providers, contact BestNotes today.

 

date:  Sep 19, 2018
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The State of Addiction and Addiction Treatment in Ohio

Ohio has not been immune to the impact of addiction and the opiate crisis sweeping the nation. Here’s the latest news on efforts across the state to curb addiction and overdose.

Cincinnati Jail Adds Beds for Inmates’ Addiction Treatment

Ohio’s Hamilton County Justice Center is renovating space to add 92 new beds to help treat addiction in inmates and ease jail crowding. Treating addiction also may help keep inmates from becoming incarcerated again. According to Sheriff Jim Neil, about one-third of the jail’s inmates are dealing with addiction. NaphCare, the health provider for the jail, also began using buprenorphine in May to help inmates detox. Among those 500 people who enter detox every month, nearly 400 are addicted to opioids.

Could Medical Marijuana Help Opioid Addiction in Ohio?

Several Ohio counties have assembled response teams to address drug overdoses and help survivors and families get help with addiction. This year saw the launch of Project FORT (Fairfield County Overdose Response Team), which has helped about two dozen people receive addiction treatment, out of about 70 drug overdoses in Fairfield County so far this year. Of these overdoses, five were fatal, according to Scott Duff, director of Project FORT.

In Franklin County, the RREACT (Rapid Response Emergency Addiction and Crisis Team) program includes a mental-health nurse and a social worker. Both the Ross County sheriff’s office and Chillicothe police created teams that include a deputy, an officer, and a treatment provider who make home visits to people who have received the overdose drug Narcan.

Local Drug Prevention Coalitions Seek Changes Statewide

Across Ohio, five area coalitions are working to reduce overdoses from opioid misuse. The rate of deaths from unintentional drug overdose in Ohio has reached 5,232 a year, or about 14 a day. The coalitions, funded by the federal Drug-Free Communities Act, each use similar data and aim to prevent or delay drug use in children and teens.

The Fairfield Prevention Coalition, launched in 2014, includes various leaders, experts, and community members. These coalitions work with other agencies and organizations, including law enforcement, mental-health professionals, and churches. Coalitions also use social media to bring awareness to opiate addiction. Goals of these coalitions include changing perceptions of the drugs’ harm and creating incentives for positive behavior.

Treating addiction and behavioral health in Ohio?

Behavioral health and addiction treatment providers can save time, money, and headaches with the right EHR solutions. Contact BestNotes for more information about how we can help.

date:  Sep 10, 2018
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