The pandemic reshaped healthcare delivery in ways we never imagined. It spurred rapid innovation in healthcare, with telehealth and technology emerging as indispensable tools for providing both physical and behavioral care. Now, clients expect a superior experience– to be involved in their care and engage with their providers in dynamic and innovative ways.
In February 2023, the US government announced that they would make permanent the telemedicine flexibilities that were originally intended as pandemic-era emergency provisions. With telehealth use for behavioral health up 45X since the start of then pandemic, it’s no wonder our government is taking steps to increase telehealth accessibility and services. In other words, clients aren’t likely to return to in-person care as the only medium for mental health care. They want to continue to leverage tools that were made available to them 3 years ago, which will continue to deliver the hybrid, connected care clients expect. As a result, behavioral health organizations will have to make a shift in the way they approach care delivery if they want to stay relevant.
What this means for your behavioral health organization
Clients are seeking care that is both personalized and proactive, where healthcare engagement goes beyond the walls of the office or clinic. It’s not enough for behavioral health organizations to simply provide treatment. They must also actively engage clients in their care to promote better outcomes and improve overall client satisfaction.
This new approach to client engagement in behavioral health has the potential to improve access to care, optimize outcomes, engage clients, and ultimately foster a stronger connection between the client and their provider. But it’s not business as usual for behavioral health organizations: in order to meet client’s evolving expectations, providers must prioritize interoperability, client engagement, and virtual-first experiences throughout a client’s treatment. We’ve put together a list of key tactics you can leverage when building a comprehensive client engagement program for your behavioral health organization. We focus on 4 main enhancements your providers and organization can leverage to build on the momentum of telehealth:
- Integrating a client portal
- Digital-first admissions
- Content management
- Client outcomes and reporting
- Integrating a client portal
We believe that an integrated telehealth and client portal is the key to delivering high quality behavioral health across every vertical, be it addiction, mental health, and autism care, or other verticals. A client portal that includes telehealth tools such as digital onboarding and eSignature, automatic appointment reminders, and instant messaging features encourages clients to connect and engage with their providers throughout treatment. Outside of traditional appointment settings, a client portal enables clients to access their health information at any time, review provider reports, and send information to caregivers securely and safely. In fact, “Patients are more likely to accept medical care and follow treatment plans if they feel they communicate well with their providers.”
Unlike behavioral health agencies who don’t use client engagement and telehealth software, clients who do have access can self-schedule appointments through their branded client portal or provider’s webpage, without having to call an administrator. Overall, client engagement and telehealth software for behavioral health, such as Qualifacts’ OnCall solution, can increase client satisfaction to 98%. A digital-first admissions process enables clients to have a hand in their care journey, which can help improve outcomes and compliance rates. Just like a client portal, clients who are invested in their care can experience better connections and graduation rates.
Your white label client portal can house a library of rich media, exercises, videos, and other resources for clients to consume in between appointments. These additional touchpoints encourage clients to have a hand in their healthcare journey, complete therapeutic assessments, and comply with their program to see results. A Consumers and Health Information Technology National Survey found that clients with access to a client portal felt 38% more connected to their provider and 32% more likely to “do something to improve their health” as a result. These additional touchpoints encourage clients to have a hand in their healthcare journey, complete therapeutic assessments, and comply with their program to see results.
Client outcomes and reporting
The goal of tracking client health outcomes is two-fold; to understand the client’s historical health and capture their day-to-day information, while also supporting proactive care decision- making in the long-term. White label client portals can offer tools for providers to track the health of their clients day-to-day, through automatic client surveys, post-appointment follow up questionnaires, and custom therapeutic assessments. Capturing this data not only gives providers better insight into their client but can also help them proactively sense a client’s shifting health so they can prepare personalized treatment plans. Adapting your organization’s services to better serve clients and to align with their needs is an important step in delivering on client expectations in behavioral health.
The way forward for client engagement in behavioral health
Ultimately, the solution to satisfying new expectations isn’t to require behavioral health organizations to do more, but to provide them with the right tools. Behavioral health organizations are already meeting and exceeding client expectations by leveraging technology, which seamlessly allows clients to take a more active role in their own healing. Learn more about how your organization can embrace industry changes, exceed client expectations, and improve long-term outcomes by scheduling a call with our expert team.