Behavioral healthcare in the United States often suffers from provider shortages, a problem that has reached critical mass in the last few years. The demand for services now far exceeds the available supply, a problem often compounded by chronic underfunding, lower insurance coverage and reimbursement rates compared to its acute-care counterparts. Simply put, behavioral health organizations are asked every day to provide specialist services when they may not have the adequate resources to do so. This gap between resources can cause major accessibility issues for those who need care.
The issues of funding and reimbursement likely aren’t going to ease any time soon, which is why operators are turning their focus on ways to promote operational efficiency to scale and improve their margins. One way to bring relief is to leverage innovative technologies that provide automation and promote operational excellence. In addition to realizing cost savings and boosting efficiency, these tools may also have the very real benefit of attracting and retaining a workforce that can extend the organizational mission.
The complex psychiatric hospital landscape
Psychiatric hospitals are an essential component of behavioral healthcare where technology adoption can be especially meaningful. The care they provide often involves creating an interdisciplinary team of highly trained specialists in addiction and other disorders to provide a broad spectrum of care. Having this level of expertise available per client can be very expensive, and that doesn’t even touch on the physical costs of real estate, supplies, and more.
All of this is well known in the treatment community. Yet despite a national shortage of psychiatric hospital beds, the commercially focused psychiatric hospitals experience less than full occupancy for many reasons. In addition to costly staff and physical operating costs, these facilities struggle with an uncertain economy and bed occupancy/census rates going down due in part to fierce competition with other competing organizations providing the same services covered by the same insurance plans.
In this climate, psychiatric providers are working to achieve growth and stability by focusing on
- operational efficiency;
- fostering a healthy culture to retain talent;
- accessible and high-quality care; and
- cultivating solid relationships with their referral sources.
Those referral sources are the lifeblood of any behavioral health organization. In communities with many care providers, competition for them means making informed acceptance decisions in minutes. When an emergency department or other referring facility faxes a set of referral documents to several psychiatric hospitals in an ecosystem, the first organization to review and accept the referral usually wins the business.
Psychiatric hospitals with full beds more often than not have developed and mastered a well-oiled intake department machine. However, psychiatric hospitals even the most efficient are keeping an eye out for solutions to help them get referrals into the evaluation process quicker than their competitors.
Imagine the value of an intuitive application that helps staff identify clinical appropriateness, then dispositions data into an EHR or CRM, as quickly as possible — all while adhering to the institution’s rules around information security, state reporting, and other policies and procedures.
Concord’s Care Intake referral management solution was built out of this need for speed and efficiency. It creates streamlined referral-intake workflows that help avoid bottlenecks and other system clogs and gaps while creating collaboration opportunities throughout the intake journey. And its analytics provide insights into the entire referral-management process to better diagnose issues for continuous improvement.
To learn more about Concord Care Intake, please visit concordintake.com.