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How to Track Quality Improvement in Behavioral Health Care

How to Track Quality Improvement in Behavioral Health Care

Quality management is paramount to making sure you stay on track with your behavioral health goals.

Let’s take a look at how to define quality management, the benefits of quality management, and quality initiatives your organization can put into action.

The importance of quality improvement in behavioral health

Ensuring your patients get the quality care they need by assessing the impact of your behavioral health programming is essential.

Here’s what Iris Telehealth’s Executive Director of Quality, Yara Nielsenshultz, RN, MS, CPHQ, had to say about the importance of having a quality management strategy in place:

Yara Nielsenshultz, RN, MS, CPHQ, Executive Director of Quality

We cannot know for sure if we’re impacting patient outcomes without measuring them. We can think we’re doing a good job (or not), and we can look at the qualitative evidence, which is important and should not be discounted. But, without some quantitative measurement or goal in mind, we cannot be certain of whether we’re making meaningful improvement.

That’s where having a quality management strategy comes into play. It forces organizations to think about what excellent care looks like to identify opportunities to improve, take action, and, most importantly, effect meaningful change.

Focusing on quality improvement initiatives are critical to treatment outcomes, efficiency, patient safety, and timely care. By tracking and knowing with certainty how your behavioral health programs are performing, you can be sure that your patients are getting the best care possible.

To get more of our expertise, download our guide on the impact of quality management in healthcare.

Seven healthcare quality measures your organization can track

In behavioral health, objective measurement of treatment effectiveness can be challenging.

However, determining specific performance measures and goals and then gathering data on those measures provides meaningful, actionable information. This information is critical to identifying opportunities to improve and track the effectiveness of any initiatives or changes you implement over time.

Here are seven healthcare quality measures your organization can track to ensure your behavioral health program is operating as smoothly as possible:

  1. Wait time: Monitoring this metric helps avoid waste (time, resources, or equipment), and provides promptness of services (reducing wait times, eliminating discharge delays, etc.)
  2. No-shows: Monitoring and improving no-show rates supports consistency, which may improve patient outcomes and access to care while also optimizing provider time
  3. Performing validated screening: Using validated screening tools, such as PHQ-9, GAD-7, or C-SSRS, provides measurable data to help monitor the impact of healthcare services or interventions on the health status of patients
  4. Safety events; suicide: It’s critical to monitor safety events, such as treatment errors or suicide, so your team can prevent and reduce errors and protect patients
  5. Timely response to patients: Tracking and optimizing response times ensures services are respectful and responsive to patient’s needs while providing the same high level of care to everyone
  6. Patient Reported Outcomes (PROMs): Tracking patient-reported outcomes provides measurable data on patients’ perception of treatment effectiveness, which complements patient satisfaction and can inform quality improvement activities
  7. Patient satisfaction: Implementing surveys or measures to understand patient satisfaction delivers key insights into perceptions of the care patients receive

Tracking these measures is essential for improving the quality and monitoring of your behavioral health program. However, doing it alone can be overwhelming. That’s why having a partner who can help you track these metrics and work to improve upon them is key.

The keys to quality improvement in healthcare

At Iris, we collaborate with partners to optimize their behavioral health programs and maximize their benefits. That means we collaborate and exchange data, aggregate and report information, and help their team improve upon identified quality improvement metrics.

From our experience, these are the three pillars we’ve found that make a successful quality management solution:

  1. Ongoing monitoring: Meeting quality measures means keeping track of key metrics through ongoing monitoring. By leveraging a partner who effectively monitors quality measures, you’re better positioned to meet performance standards and stay on top of accreditation, certification, and regulatory requirements.
  2. Regular communication: To help stay on top of key metrics, regular touch bases to analyze quality metrics and compare how your performance tracks against target goals are essential. In addition to frequent touch points, at Iris, we deliver easily understandable visualizations, identify trends, and look for opportunities for improvement.
  3. Customized reports: Access to customized reports can help your team know how your organization is tracking. At Iris, we interpret data in an easy-to-understand way that helps provide guidance and recommendations for the best next steps for your organization to meet quality improvement initiatives. We help monitor, evaluate, and improve on selected quality measures like patient outcomes, patient satisfaction, efficiency, and resource utilization.

Partnering with an organization that provides quality management alongside their behavioral health programs offers many benefits, including adding additional resources to support your organization’s quality initiatives, supporting positive patient outcomes, and helping meet accreditation, certification, and regulatory requirements.

Where Iris Telehealth fits in

At Iris, we’ve helped our partners reduce the length of stay in their MedSurg units by 0.5 days, increased ED discharge rates from 55% to 62%, and reduced their length of stay in the ED from 12 to 9 hours.

Additionally, as a Joint Commission-accredited medical group, we have the expertise to help organizations monitor and address gaps to meet required standards and quality measures. We’ve also helped partners track no-show rates and helped compare provider performance to uncover best practices that were then replicated and implemented across care teams.

To learn more about how you can improve quality initiatives at your organization, contact our downloadable, The Impact of Quality Management in Healthcare. Or, if you’d like to talk to someone to learn how we can help jumpstart your quality initiatives or behavioral health program, contact us today.

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