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Venture Funding Increases for Behavioral Health Services and Technology

Demand for behavioral health services has skyrocketed in recent years, and especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, venture capital is pouring into mental health apps and other startups.

According to Forbes, about 42 percent of U.S. adults reported symptoms of anxiety or depression in December 2020. By that time, venture investors had provided a record $1.5 billion for mental health-related startups. This level of funding has persisted through 2021; startups received $795 million in the first quarter of the year.

Behavioral Health Funding Recipients

Despite federal laws requiring insurance parity for mental health, many clients struggle with a lack of coverage for behavioral health services. Burlingame, Calif.-based Lyra Health aims to provide real mental health benefits to large employers. The company recently raised $200 million at a $4.6 billion valuation, led by investment firm Coatue Management.

Besides a network of virtual or in-person providers, Lyra customers also have access to a virtual platform that supports mental health with cognitive behavioral therapy and other methods. The company’s network includes more than 90,000 providers in 180 countries.

Pediatric behavioral health startup Brightline, launched in California in 2020, recently raised $72 million in a Series B funding round. The company offers a behavioral health platform that offers virtual therapy, medication support, and other digital resources for children, teenagers, and caregivers. The company has expanded into Massachusetts and plans to reach nationwide expansion by the end of 2021.

Digital health company Ksana Health has raised $2 million in seed funding. The company also accepted an invitation to join the Anthem Digital Incubator to pilot a new digital health solution known as Vira. This solution aims to change the way behavioral health is monitored and studied by converting behavioral patterns collected by smartphones into real-world insights for providers.

The Spanish-language mental health app Yana recently announced that it has more than 5 million users and has raised $1.5 million in funding. The company had already raised $315,000 from previous investors, and about $10,000 through a crowdfunding campaign. CEO Andrea Campos originally created Yana as a personal project to help herself cope with depression. The app now offers access to mental health tools, including a chatbot, mood tracker, and meditation guidance.

Mental Health Technology Not a Cure-All

Will all this investment and new technology alone fix the nation’s behavioral healthcare system? Many experts have expressed doubts.

Without sufficient research into the effectiveness of mental health apps and other technology, consumers and providers may be unprepared to decide which options are the most suitable. Additional studies are needed to compare the different options currently on the market.

Virtual therapy sessions and mental-health apps may have an important role as a stopgap or supplementing a supplement to more traditional interventions. However, many researchers and clinicians believe they cannot replace in-person sessions.

“There’s a lot more to emotions and connecting with people, reading people and diagnosing people than just looking at their face,” says Jessi Gold, a psychiatrist and assistant professor at Washington University in St. Louis, as quoted in Forbes.

Whether you are providing in-person or virtual behavioral health services, the software you use can make a big difference to your clients’ experiences. BestNotes EHR solutions are tailored specifically to the needs and standards of behavioral health and addiction treatment professionals to help your practice succeed. Contact us today to learn more.

date:  Jul 20, 2021
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Developing a Value Proposition for Your Behavioral Health Business

What do you offer your behavioral health clients? How do you contribute to your community and your field? What makes you different from other providers in your area?

The answers to these questions determine your value proposition. This is an essential part of defining your behavioral health business and guiding many of your decisions.

What’s in a behavioral health value proposition?

Your value proposition should focus on what is unique to your behavioral health business. Some possibilities include:

Newness: You address a particular set of needs that customers were unaware of, or offer something different from what is already available.
Performance: Your organization is results-oriented and focuses on improving existing services.
Customization: You tailor your services to specific needs of individual clients or a client segment.
Design: You can make your service stand out due to design elements, such as a great website or a beautiful, relaxing office space.
Brand/Status: The client finds value in simply using or displaying a specific brand due to the organization’s reputation.
Price: Offer similar value at a lower price to serve a more price-sensitive client base.
Cost Reduction: Your organization helps the customer reduce monetary and other costs.
Risk Reduction: This angle emphasizes how you help clients reduce risk, such as reducing the symptoms of depression that can otherwise put relationships and careers in jeopardy.
Accessibility: Offer services to clients who otherwise may not have access to them, such as operating in an underserved neighborhood.
Convenience/Usability: Make your services easier to use or more convenient for clients, such as virtual therapy options.

How do you determine your value proposition?

Your value proposition won’t include all of those factors. So how do you decide which ones apply to your organization? Start with a little research.

Conduct a stakeholder analysis to determine the audience of your value proposition. Who is affected by your work, has influence over it, or has an interest in your success? This includes clients and payers, but also policymakers and potential partner organizations.
Internally review your organization’s capabilities to determine what you do well, what you are best known for, and what advantages you have over others.
Look at your organization’s strategy and consider what success looks like and how to achieve it. Don’t forget to consider potential risks and weak spots, too.
Gather data that is most valuable to your stakeholders, and what will demonstrate positive outcomes and costs. Consider how your data compares state- or nationwide. This may include health outcomes, how quickly clients are seen, and client engagement.

Once you have the right information, you can begin to create your value proposition. You may want to create both a short “elevator pitch” and a longer value proposition document that incorporates your answers and the data you’ve collected. Write in language targeted toward all relevant audiences.

With an established value proposition, you can articulate the unique value your behavioral health business brings to your market. You can also use it to inform decisions, such as marketing, hiring, and partnerships, that will also contribute to your organization’s success.

BestNotes aims to help behavioral health organizations streamline their operations to help make providers, staff, and clients happier. Our hosted CRM solution saves you from the cost and hassle of developing and supporting your own CRM, so you can increase profits while saving time. Contact us to learn more.

date:  Jun 07, 2021
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What You Should Know About Hiring a Partner for Your Behavioral Health Practice: Part Two

In our previous blog post on hiring a partner for your independent behavioral health practice, we looked at how you should consider your goals for the partnership, its impact on your business, and your compensation offers.

Once you’ve decided you want to hire another therapist, or bring on another business partner, and what to offer them, here’s how to find and vet the right person.

Know where to look

Depending on the experience and credentials you want, you have different options for where to find the right candidate.

Let your professional network know you’re looking for someone to hire or join your practice.
Use online job boards, either general boards like Indeed or Linkedin, or websites specifically for behavioral health professionals, such as Therapist Job Board or Mental Health Work.
Post about the opportunity on social media, such as Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter. (Add hashtags for the city or job title to make your post more searchable.)
Reach out to local colleges and universities if you are interested in hiring a recent graduate.
Participate in job fairs or industry conferences that potential candidates may attend.
Contact local health organizations and associations about your opportunity.

Carefully consider how you market your practice in any job postings. Describe how the role will serve your clients and contribute to the organization. Make note of the benefits you offer. Describe the work environment and organizational culture, if possible.

Vet candidates carefully and thoroughly

Consider screening candidates over the phone before bringing them in for a formal interview. Critique all potential partners not only for yourself, but from your clients’ perspective. Make sure you choose someone who is not only clinically knowledgeable and trustworthy from an administrative standpoint, but who will serve clients in a compassionate, helpful way.

Before you make a formal offer, conduct a thorough background check, including their credit and criminal history. Request and follow up on references. This can take some time and money, but ultimately this step will protect your practice financially and ensure the safety of your clients.

Make sure you know the laws that apply to your practice. This means avoiding questions about an applicant’s status, such as race, religion, nationality, gender, age, or disability. Never discriminate based on those factors, whether you are hiring, managing, or firing an individual.

Negotiate with candidates appropriately

Once you find a candidate you like, it’s time to make an offer. This is when you discuss not only compensation, but your expectations. Don’t try to attract an employee by promising more than you can deliver, such as salary or vacation time.

While empathy is essential in a behavioral health job, don’t let it cloud your judgment. Don’t compromise on your non-negotiables, such as the hours you need them to work or the credentials they need to have. If the new therapist has shortcomings that can be corrected after hiring, such as obtaining a certain certification, note this in the employee contract, with a deadline for meeting the requirements.

Whatever your staffing situation, your EHR software should support your behavioral health practice’s specific needs. BestNotes EHR solutions, built specifically for behavioral health and addiction treatment providers, offer numerous customization options to help you save time, stay profitable, and make life easier for staff and clients. Contact us today to learn more, or schedule a free demo.

date:  Nov 19, 2020
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What You Should Know About Hiring a Partner for Your Behavioral Health Practice: Part One

You’ve finally fulfilled your dream of opening your own private behavioral health counseling practice. Congratulations!

Once you have a smoothly running practice, you may start thinking about hiring a partner or two. This is quite a common idea—many independent therapists and counselors participate in a group practice. Here’s what you need to know before you hire a partner for your private behavioral health practice.

Establish your goal for the partnership.

First, make sure you clarify to yourself why you want a partner or employee, and what goals you want to achieve. This will better prepare you to choose the right person. Possible goals include:

The ability to serve more clients
The ability to work reduced hours
Improving your client satisfaction rates and outcomes
Providing additional services you may not currently provide
Serving new client demographics or needs you may not have training or experience with

Evaluate how it affects you.

Once you have your goals set, consider the impact that a second therapist will have on your behavioral health practice.

Will the new counselor be a co-owner, employee, or independent contractor?
What additional expenses or administrative burdens will there be?
How many more clients will financially justify the partnership?
Can your practice’s infrastructure, such as your waiting room, office space, administrative staff, and software, handle the additional provider and patients?
Are you prepared to manage an employee, delegate decisions, or give up some control over the practice with a business partner?
Are you prepared to share liability?

Be sure to consult a trusted legal or financial professional before you go any further. If you have a professional network, mentor, or advisor, it’s a good idea to ask for their input, as well.

Decide what you want in a partner.

Once you know what you want from the partnership, and have decided to move forward, you will need to consider what skills and qualities you want in another clinician. This includes:

Education, training, and other credentials
Previous experience
How they fit with the culture of your practice
Their long-term career goals
Preferred treatment techniques
Philosophy and approach to client care

Offer the right compensation.

Once you have decided what you want from a second therapist, make sure you can compensate them appropriately. If you are hiring an employee or independent contractor, you need to decide if you will offer just a salary, or a base salary plus a bonus based on the income they generate.

Of course, compensation includes more than just a salary. There are other things to consider, especially for a full-time employee or partner:

Malpractice insurance
Health and disability insurance
Reimbursement for continued education or licensing

Be sure to consult with a legal or financial advisor who is familiar with healthcare practice agreements. Research your competitors’ job listings, if they have any. Find out what benefits they offer, and make sure you can make comparable offers.

That’s all we have for now! In part two of this topic, we’ll look at how to find the best candidates, and how to vet them thoroughly to ensure a beneficial partnership and protect your clients.

Whether you are practicing solo or hiring a partner, your EHR software should support the unique needs of your practice. BestNotes EHR solutions have been developed specifically for behavioral health and addiction treatment providers, with numerous customization options to help you save time, stay profitable, and give your clients the best experience. Contact us today to learn more, or schedule a free demo.

date:  Nov 06, 2020
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Productivity Tips for Behavioral Health Clinicians

Many entrepreneurs may struggle to stay focused without a boss to manage their schedule. Here are some tips to stay motivated and productive when you’re working for yourself as a behavioral health clinician.

Keep your workspace separate and defined.

One of the most important steps in staying productive is to create a distinct workspace that cultivates a focused, productive mindset. Over time, your mind will associate this space with work, making it easier to shift into “work mode” there.

If you see clients in your home, reserve a room exclusively for your behavioral health practice. Avoid adding distractions, such as a television, non-professional books, or snacks. Keep it clean and uncluttered.

If your behavioral health practice is in a different building, assign different rooms or spaces for specific tasks, such as a comfortable area for client sessions, a communications area for scheduling and telehealth visits, and a separate desk for administrative tasks.

Create a new routine and stick to it.

Many successful entrepreneurs are more productive because of their daily routines. From the first few minutes of their morning to winding down at night, regular routines and rituals help keep them on-task and successful.

  • Decide what is important to you, such as family time, exercising, or professional development. Make room for these priorities in your schedule.
  • Create a daily morning routine to help you stay consistent.
  • Commit to a weekly schedule. Consider reserving different types of tasks for specific days of the week, such as doing marketing on Mondays and telehealth calls on Thursdays.

Be a lifelong learner.

You will see changes in mental health research, industry standards, and community needs over the course of your career. To be successful, you will need to stay flexible and open to new information.

Consider different learning techniques to grow your professional knowledge. Be open to learning from in-person classroom events, networking, reading academic journals, educational apps, or mentoring. Set up Google Alerts for keywords in your field. Stay current on applicable licensing and accreditation requirements.

Delegate and outsource appropriately.

While it may make a dent in your budget at first, outsourcing tasks to a receptionist or virtual assistant lets you focus more on your clients and other tasks you enjoy most. This outsourcing even includes the software you use. If you use accounting, marketing, or EHR software, look for solutions tailored specifically for behavioral health or small practices.

Set clear expectations.

Set expectations and boundaries with your clients, employees, partners, and even yourself. This can help guide your relationships and prevent future confusion or problems that may otherwise limit efficiency.

  • Set professional boundaries, such as not providing professional therapeutic services to family and friends.
  • Create an informed consent form or service agreement for your clients. Check out examples from organizations like the Center for Ethical Practice.
  • Set rules for communicating with clients, including social media.
  • Clearly define employees’ tasks.

Operating your own behavioral health practice, gives you plenty of flexibility and freedom. Don’t be afraid to make changes to your routine and workflow as you learn what works best for you.

Make things easier on yourself, your employees, and your clients by using software aimed specifically at your needs as a mental health provider. BestNotes EHR and CRM solutions, created for the behavioral health and addiction treatment industry, can help you stay productive and profitable. Contact us today to learn more!

date:  Jun 08, 2020
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