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Why Behavioral Health and Addiction Treatment Providers Should Track Outcomes (and How to Start)

Why Behavioral Health and Addiction Treatment Providers Should Track Outcomes (and How to Start)

posted by: Nicole Hovey date: Apr 02, 2019 category: Blog comments: Comments Off on Why Behavioral Health and Addiction Treatment Providers Should Track Outcomes (and How to Start)

The Joint Commission, a non-profit organization that accredits nearly 21,000 U.S. healthcare organizations and programs, requires behavioral health organizations to assess patient outcomes with “a standardized tool or instrument.”

This is intended to help “inform goals and objectives identified in individual plans of care, treatment, or services…as well as to evaluate outcomes of care, treatment, or services provided to the population(s) served.”

More than a requirement, measuring patient outcomes has other benefits for behavioral health organizations. While many providers still face barriers to tracking outcomes, the right approach and tools can help organizations succeed.

Benefits to Measuring Behavioral Health Outcomes

Measuring patient outcomes lets providers know if the treatment is working, so they can make adjustments or referrals as needed.
Payer reimbursement is shifting from fee-for-service to value-based care, which involves tracking and measuring outcomes.
Research indicates that behavioral health patients show improvements faster when they can observe their improvements and outcomes over time.
Measuring outcomes helps providers fully utilize their electronic health record (EHR) solutions, improving the return on investment.
Tracking treatment outcomes can help behavioral health providers better coordinate care and improve integration with a patient’s other providers.
Measuring outcomes preserves accountability to regulatory agencies and payers.

Barriers to Behavioral Health Outcome Measurement

Many behavioral health and addiction treatment providers do not use standardized metrics to measure patient outcomes. Unlike with physical health, patient outcomes in behavioral health are usually subjective and tailored to the individual. This makes it more difficult to measure patient outcomes in a meaningful way.

Providers also need a robust EHR solution to help track, store, and manage the data that they create by measuring and tracking treatment outcomes. Many smaller behavioral health organizations, however, are less willing to adopt EHR platforms and technology. Often they are concerned about the expense of an EHR system and the potential workflow disruption, and may not recognize the value of an EHR system.

How to Start Measuring Behavioral Health Outcomes

According to the Joint Commission, behavioral health outcome measurement should involve:

Using a standardized tool
Measuring at regular, frequent intervals
Using the data produced to inform care, treatment, and services
Aggregating data across all clients to improve quality across the organization

Behavioral health and addiction treatment organizations can meet the challenge of defining and measuring treatment outcomes. This process may include the following:
Determine what outcomes need to be addressed, as well as who will receive information about the results.
Determine what measurements are needed.
Develop clear criteria for these measurements, including frequency of measurement and delivering results.
Consider which tools will provide data that shows effectiveness and value.
Train staff on interpreting the results and how to use the results to inform care, treatment, and services.
Document the results in the chosen EHR, such as progress notes, treatment plans, test results, and other clinical documents.
Use performance measurement data to implement changes.

An EHR That Helps Track Outcomes

BestNotes EHR, created specifically for behavioral health and addiction treatment organizations, helps you track your chosen treatment outcomes. Create and manage patient progress notes, track vitals and lab results, and manage intake assessments and discharge summaries.

Contact us today to learn more about how BestNotes EHR can help you improve care, track patient outcomes, and increase practice revenue.

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