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How to Keep Marketing Your Behavioral Telehealth Services After COVID-19

Did your behavioral health practice recently launch telehealth services? As more behavioral health or addiction treatment locations resume in-person visits, it is important to continue to address the needs of clients who still prefer remote options.

Here’s how you can market your behavioral health practice and remind clients, both new and existing, that telehealth services remain available.

Ask some key questions for your marketing strategy.

Every community is different, so be prepared to tailor your marketing strategy to address local needs. Ask yourself some of these questions:

  • What are the best communication channels for reaching clients? Are they more traditional, such as newspapers and radio, or digital, like social media?
  • What potential partners, like social service agencies or emergency physicians, could help you reach new clients?
  • If you have staff, how can they refer clients to your telehealth services?
  • What telehealth benefits would most attract your ideal clients?

Update all online and offline materials.

Your website, social media pages, emails, and other digital marketing materials should inform clients and potential clients that you are still offering telehealth services. In many cases, a simple sentence like “Online sessions now available,” clearly displayed, is enough.

Put up posters and signs in your office, especially the registration or waiting areas, to let visitors know that remote visits are an option. If you offer pamphlets and other “take-away” materials, make sure they also mention your telehealth features.

Inform clients verbally.

Demand for mental health services continues to increase after COVID-19. As your practice grows, new clients may not always be aware of telehealth options.

When making their first appointment, you may ask clients if they are interested in a remote visit. Do the same thing if a current client needs to cancel or rebook an appointment, or at the end of an in-office visit.

Develop a post-COVID telehealth plan.

Eventually, we will be able to put the COVID-19 public emergency behind us. This means you should establish a long-term, post-COVID plan for your telehealth program.

Under this plan, you should aim to create the best user experience by going above and beyond the bare minimum of telehealth services.

  • Consider offering additional telehealth services, such as client education and remote monitoring. Include these services in your marketing.
  • Focus on delivering an optimal telehealth experience for clients and partners, including increased bandwidth to reduce technical problems.
  • Take all necessary steps to protect and back up health information.

Stay up-to-date on telehealth policy and practices.

By following national updates and best practices for telehealth policy, you can be better prepared to respond to changes and overcome challenges. This will keep clients informed, increasing their satisfaction, and help your practice stay competitive.

Some helpful resources include:

Whether you are launching or continuing your telehealth services, your EHR software should support your practice. BestNotes EHR solutions have been developed specifically for behavioral health and addiction treatment providers, with support for many low-cost telehealth options. Contact us today to learn more, or schedule a free demo.

date:  Jul 21, 2020
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Four Big Challenges to Launching a Behavioral Health Practice (and What to Do About Them)

As mental health needs continue to grow across the United States, more clinicians may see a need for independent behavioral health services. However, launching your own practice is also full of challenges. Here’s how to address some of those.

1. Lack of clinical experience

If you are a recent graduate, newly licensed, or have been out of the workforce for a while, you may wonder if you have the professional experience to open an independent practice. In many cases, it is beneficial to join a group practice first to build up your experience and skills.

Make sure that your licensing, clinical hours, and other professional requirements are up-to-date, as well. Additional training and continuing education credits can help get you the experience you need.

2. Lack of business experience

Opening a behavioral health practice requires both entrepreneurial and clinical skills. Fortunately, there are many ways for clinicians to learn how to operate a business:

  • Connect with other independent clinicians, locally or online.
  • Ask your local chamber of commerce for business resources.
  • Join local groups for business owners.
  • Online classes and tutorials, from accounting to marketing, can give you basic business education.

If you are new to running a business, there are other things you should keep in mind:

  • Create a business plan right away.
  • Set aside portions of your day or week for business-only tasks, including learning to run your business and addressing paperwork, such as taxes and reimbursement.
  • Consider outsourcing administrative tasks so you can concentrate on more clinical tasks.

3. Financial limitations

There are startup costs of launching a private behavioral health practice, though it can vary depending on a variety of factors. Fortunately, starting costs for many behavioral health providers can be relatively low compared to other types of businesses.

Here are some ways to keep costs down:

  • Keep a careful, ruthless budget. Some expenses are non-negotiable, like taxes, licensing fees, and Internet service. Others may be more flexible, such as your insurance coverage and whether you hire employees.
  • Consider subletting your office space, or working out of your home. If possible, you might try using remote-only services.
  • Use a “side hustle,” such as teaching or a group practice, to supplement your income while you build your independent practice.
  • Calculate the bare minimum you need to stay in business, and focus on just making that much for the first few months.
  • Keep your expectations realistic; you don’t need a fancy office right away.
  • Get used to charging a fee that accurately reflects the worth of your services.

4. Getting new clients

Exceeding your clinical requirements and possessing flawless business knowledge doesn’t guarantee you will have clients to serve when you open your practice. The best way to overcome this challenge is by learning to sell yourself and your practice with excellent sales and marketing skills. This includes:

  • Community activity, such as giving talks or volunteering
  • A strong website that attracts clients and explains exactly what you do
  • Building a referral network, either with other local professionals or through online portals like Psychology Today

Ready to launch your independent behavioral health practice? The right software can make the difference between frustrating disorganization and streamlined profitability. Contact the team at BestNotes to learn how our software can help your practice start out strong.

date:  Jul 13, 2020
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FHIR Interoperability Standards News Roundup

If you use electronic health records (EHRs) in your behavioral health practice, you may have encountered the issue of interoperability. This involves the ability of different EHR systems to share and interpret a patient’s health data. (Check out BestNotes’ previous blog posts on the subject of EHR interoperability.)

One standard for electronic health information interoperability, FHIR, has been making the rounds in quite a few articles this year. Here’s our roundup of some of the most relevant FHIR news.

FHIR Affected by Final Interoperability Rule

In March 2020, the U.S. Office of the National Coordination for Health IT (ONC) announced a new interoperability rule. This rule requires certified health IT developers to establish secure, standards-based application programming interfaces (APIs) to support patients’ access to important EHR data. FHIR is one of the standards involved, as it is required to implement the 21st Century Cures Act, which was meant to encourage EHR interoperability.

Understanding FHIR and Why It Matters

An article in Managed Healthcare Executive takes a look at FHIR itself and its significance. The latest version, FHIR 4, is considered “ready for use and stable,” and would make applications built with this version easier to be supported in the future. This article points out that FHIR API-based data exchange can encourage a more patient-centered approach to care.

The article also notes that, under the ONC’s final rule on interoperability, health plans on federal exchanges must be able to support a standardized API that is supported by FHIR 4. Starting January 1, 2021, APIs that would allow patients to access vital information like claims should meet FHIR 4 standards.

Microsoft Azure Expands API for FHIR

Earlier this year, Microsoft’s cloud computing service Microsoft Azure announced that it is expanding its API for FHIR. According to the company, this expansion will encourage interoperability and secure health information exchange.

The API was first released to the general public in November 2019. The expansion includes features that will help transform health data, including legacy health data and data from health devices, into FHIR. “Azure was the first cloud with a fully-managed, enterprise-grade service for health data in the FHIR format,” writes Heather Jordan Cartwright General Manager, Microsoft Healthcare.

Looking at FHIR’s Progress Toward Interoperability

FHIR has grown rapidly in recent years, as demonstrated by its inclusion in the ONC’s final interoperability rules. One reason for FHIR’s progress is that its creator organization, HL7, established multiple “FHIR Accelerators” to focus on important use cases.

For example, the Da Vinci Project, launched in 2018, brought together payers, providers, and health IT vendors to address FHIR use cases in value-based care. The group is focusing on projects that involve data exchange for quality measures and coverage requirements discovery. Another accelerator, the Gravity Project, examines how FHIR can be applied to data involved in care coordination and the social determinants of health.

Your behavioral health or addiction treatment practice can achieve greater interoperability, and all the accompanying benefits, with an EHR system that meets current standards like FHIR. BestNotes offers EHR and CRM solutions with features that help you collaborate and exchange information with those who need it. Contact us today to learn more or schedule a demo!

date:  Jul 09, 2020
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Telehealth News Roundup: June 2020

States and providers moved quickly to expand access to telehealth during the coronavirus pandemic. While the technology was already growing in popularity, its use in response to COVID-19 has increased the speed of its adoption. Here are some of the latest headlines centered around U.S. telehealth use.

Telehealth Expansion Now Permanent in Idaho

Under an executive order signed by Governor Brad Little, more than 150 emergency rules enacted in Idaho to address the coronavirus pandemic have become permanent. Many of these rules, which have been enacted since March, include expansion of telehealth platforms. This change will help expand access to care and may improve patient outcomes in the state.

Some of these now-permanent rules include allowing the use of applications like Zoom and Facetime for telehealth services. Another rule now allows out-of-state providers with valid licenses to treat Idaho residents via telehealth.

VA Expands Patient Care Via Telehealth

So far this year, VA has delivered more than 9 million telehealth appointments, including 1.1 million remote mental health appointments. Like many other health providers, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) canceled and postponed many on-site appointments while expanding its use of telehealth in response to COVID-19. VA plans to continue using telehealth as its locations begin to shift back to offering in-person appointments.

To support infrastructure improvements, including telehealth expansion, the VA Office of Information and Technology received nearly $2 billion in supplemental funding through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. The Veterans Health Administration also received $17.2 billion for medical support.

Best Practices for Long-Term Telehealth Use

Because many clinicians implemented telehealth services as quickly as possible, they may not be fully prepared for its long-term use. An article Medical Economics offers a list of best practices to encourage a telehealth program’s success.

  • Make sure the telehealth services integrate into the rest of the practice’s workflow
  • Communicate with clients before and after the telehealth appointment
  • Instead of troubleshooting patient’s technical difficulties, refer them to separate customer support services
  • Provide proof of all telehealth visits with accurate, detailed reporting and documentation

Telehealth Could Help Control Spending

Behavioral healthcare, driven partly by recent unemployment and social isolation, is expected to contribute to increased healthcare spending in 2021. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts reported that its mental health services accounted for almost 50 percent of its increase in telehealth claims.

However, PwC’s 2021 medical cost trend report suggests that broader use of telehealth could help balance some of that increased spending. Payers may need to alter their benefit designs to incentivize mental telehealth use and work on finding the right reimbursement rate for telehealth. Many employers recognize that mental healthcare spending now could help avoid potentially larger medical bills from deferred mental health treatment, especially for members with chronic conditions.

Looking to implement telehealth at your behavioral health practice? Make sure your EHR software is compatible. BestNotes EHR solutions are specifically for use in behavioral health organizations, with support for many low-cost telehealth options. Contact us today to learn more, or schedule a free demo.

date:  Jul 06, 2020
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How to Market Your Private Behavioral Health Practice

Word-of-mouth alone is usually not enough to bring you new clients, so your behavioral health business plan should put a high priority on marketing. Marketing can be difficult for new entrepreneurs, so here are some methods to get you started.

Establish a central online presence.

These days, having an online presence is non-negotiable. Before launching your practice, get a website up and running. Include important information such as:

  • Location
  • Office hours
  • Professional background and credentials
  • Which clients you serve
  • Your specialties
  • Accepted insurance and other payment options
  • How to contact you

Don’t ignore social media.

Besides a website, you can create a Facebook page for your practice at little or no cost. This makes it easy to add and change information, or share inspiring quotes and helpful information.

Platforms like Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram can also supplement your online presence. However, your practice should still have a main website where you can direct potential clients.

Keep your social media updated regularly. Using an app like Buffer to schedule posts can help save you a lot of time.

Social media can make it difficult to balance personal and professional interactions. Set boundaries beforehand, such as not accepting friend requests from clients or responding to inquiries under your personal account.

Use secondary listings.

You can also establish a business description on Google My Business or Google Maps, as well as healthcare-specific sites like Healthgrades or Psychology Today therapist listing. As your practice becomes established, check in periodically to make sure all information is still up-to-date.

Use paid ads.

You can do a lot of marketing for free, but paid advertisement can give your practice a big boost. You can create promoted posts on social media, or use Google Ads to help your practice appear at the top of search engine results.

With online ads, you can target users who belong to specific demographics or locations, so the most relevant people will see it. Depending on your budget and client demographics, you may also consider more traditional advertising, such as newspaper ads.

Consider content marketing.

Content marketing produces and shares informative, entertaining content to answer questions or solve problems. It encourages your reputation and helps people find you more easily. This can include:

  • Blogs
  • Podcasts
  • Informational videos
  • Email newsletter
  • Social media posts
  • Newspaper letters to the editor

You can also write guest posts and articles on others’ websites. Sign up for HARO (Help A Reporter Out) and respond to relevant queries.

Keep in mind that content marketing is a long-term strategy that requires patience and dedication.

Get involved in your community.

Participating in your own community is a great way to get the word out about your behavioral health practice. There are numerous ways

  • Give talks at local libraries or clinics
  • Offer your expertise to local podcasts or news affiliates
  • Partner with other local social services, even pro bono

Ultimately, the most effective type of marketing is the one you will use consistently. Choose one or two strategies and commit to them for a few weeks or months. Marketing requires a lot of time and hard work, but it can have a big payoff.

The right software can help all aspects of your business, from marketing to documentation to billing. BestNotes offers customizable, all-in-one EHR and CRM solutions that can help you launch and operate your private behavioral health practice with less stress and better results. Contact us today to learn more.

date:  Jun 25, 2020
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