Telepsychiatry Companies

5 Ways Health Systems Can Optimize Behavioral Health Services

5 Ways Health Systems Can Optimize Behavioral Health Services

Behavioral health is an essential part of care, and helping ensure your health system is equipped with the clinicians you need, high-quality services, and a support team to help provide guidance and help track and improve metrics are all key components of a successful behavioral health approach.

In this blog, we outline the five ways health systems can optimize the behavioral health services at their organization.

1. Create a holistic strategy across all patient journeys and sites of care and define what success is for your health system

    There are a few scenarios that underscore the importance of having a holistic strategy across the patient journey.

    First, your patients need timely access to care. If they can’t access outpatient behavioral healthcare, they may escalate to the emergency department.

    Next, if a patient is discharged from your inpatient units without proper discharge-follow-up, they may need to be readmitted.

    Patient journeys span sites of care and ensuring a holistic strategy to the service line is critical.

    In addition, behavioral and physical health don’t exist in silos – they go hand-in-hand. For example, if a patient is experiencing a chronic condition that requires medication, there could be a behavioral health component that prevents them from staying adherent to their treatment plan.

    Dan Ferris, Chief Strategy & Marketing Officer at Iris Telehealth

    These factors require a holistic and planful strategy. Not all patient journeys need to be solved simultaneously, but having an idea of the ideal end-state will ensure every step you take gets you closer to your desired goal.

    2. Integrate virtual providers into your inpatient psychiatric units to ensure patients can access behavioral health care and providers aren’t getting burned out

    Augmenting onsite teams with virtual teams can deliver high-quality care while ensuring staff is working top-of-license, hospitals are optimizing revenue and providers are not burning out. 

    Integrating virtual and on-site care teams in inpatient psychiatric units is a best practice deployed nationwide, enabling a continuity and level of care that may not be possible if you are fully reliant on on-site providers. 

    3. Provide 24/7/365 access to quality behavioral healthcare in EDs to increase throughput and reduce ED boarding

    On average, patients wait 4.7 hours to receive mental health care in the emergency department.

    If a patient is left waiting for hours to see a psychiatrist, that’s time the room could be used for another patient in need of urgent care. The faster a patient can get through the ED, the more financially sustainable the ED will become.

    Joe Clubb, Vice President of Operations in Mental Health and Addiction Services at Allina Health

    As it relates to ED throughout, virtual care has helped us reduce the time our behavioral health patients spend in the ED. Before our partnership, the patients who had the longest length of stay in our emergency departments were our behavioral health patients.

    We launched a whole value stream approach, and with help from Iris, we’ve seen the length of stay decrease from 12 hours to nine hours. This 25% improvement has had a big impact on our ED throughput.

    We’re proud of our work with Allina to help their population gain access to behavioral health care. In addition to our partnership with Allina, we’ve helped our partners increase ED discharge rates 15% while reducing 7-day revisit rates 42%.

    Click here to read the full story of how Iris helped support Allina Health’s behavioral health initiatives.

    4. Optimize behavioral health care delivery for patients across the outpatient spectrum by leveraging short-term care models, top of license providers, and digital tools to ensure every patient receives timely care

    Dan Ferris, Chief Strategy & Marketing Officer

    There is sometimes a misperception in the market that scaling outpatient behavioral healthcare may not be sustainable. Our experience proves that it is possible to scale and sustain outpatient behavioral health by driving sustainable fee-for-service economics and by using behavioral health to drive patient acquisition and market share.

    Widening the aperture and focusing on patient acquisition, loyalty, and reducing leakage creates cascading financial benefits that support long-term investment in behavioral health.

    5. Leverage data to measure and manage key clinical, operational, and financial KPIs

    You can only manage what you can measure, and success starts by defining what key performance indicators and operational, financial and quality metrics matter most to your hospital.

    For some organizations, it might be ED throughput, length of stay in the med surg unit, average daily census patient in the psychiatric unit or no-show rates in an outpatient clinic.

    At Iris, we have the clinical and operational expertise that helps ensure we’re putting what we learn into action. Our Quality Management program ensures we measure and monitor data regularly and drive continuous improvement activities to ensure our programs are hitting on key financial, operational, and clinical KPIs.

    If you’d like to learn more about how Iris Telehealth can help you optimize your behavioral health solution at your hospital, please contact us today!

    Contact Us Blog Home Is Where I Want to Be