As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many healthcare providers needed to shift their services more completely to a digital platform. But now that the country has begun to recover from the pandemic, the use of digital outpatient platforms is sticking around not strictly out of necessity, but because of the benefits it provides both patients and providers.
What is Outpatient Mental Health?
Outpatient services are, simply put, the delivery of healthcare services without the need for the patient to remain in the hospital overnight (inpatient care). When applied to mental health, this includes a large variety of services, from individual and group therapy to consultations and psychiatric treatment, all performed in an outpatient setting.
Patients may also need outpatient care to receive prescriptions and have regular check-ins with their provider, and because of this, outpatient care can be both short- and long-term depending on the severity of the condition being treated.
By relocating aspects of outpatient mental health services, such as appointment booking, to a centralized outpatient platform like iTether, providers can streamline important processes and better engage patients in order to reduce no-show rates and improve health outcomes.
Care coordination with outpatient platforms
The objective of care coordination is to optimize the organization of patient care activities and information for all participants—the patient, providers, and payers—in order to deliver high-quality care. Using a digital outpatient mental health platform, such as iTether, helps to create these synergies between participants, reducing no-shows and ultimately improving health outcomes.
Through this centralized platform, it is easier to close the gaps in information and communication that often prevent successful care coordination, such as confusion around what to do after visiting a specialist or why a patient was referred to a specialist in the first place.
In addition to the potential to bring care providers together and smooth any transitions in care, the clear digital pathways provided by an outpatient mental health platform give patients access to healthcare and the education they need. As these key elements to coordinated care improve, patients with mental health conditions will have an easier and likely more enjoyable time engaging with their treatment plans, which can decrease the likelihood of cancellations and no-shows.
Planning and appointments
Many outpatient mental health programs and services require in-person visits, and planning appointments for these visits is simpler, more flexible, and less time-consuming with a platform like iTether, which allows for easy scheduling that best fits around both the patient’s and provider’s other obligations.
Beyond an optimized scheduling system, an outpatient platform often gives patients and providers the ability to connect remotely and greater freedom in building their schedules. With more appointment availability and no need for transportation, there are fewer obstacles that may lead to appointment cancellations or no-shows.
Outpatient treatment can be a long, sometimes never-ending process, particularly for those with substance abuse and other behavioral health conditions. Because of this, well-managed treatment is not only essential to providing a high level of care, but also for reducing no-show rates and keeping patients engaged.
An outpatient platform can assist in delivering automated reminder texts, emails, and phone calls to help in reducing no-show rates without placing an additional burden on staff members, ultimately leading to better outcomes.
iTether’s Outpatient Mental Health Platform
iTether’s centralized management platform helps health organizations help their patients with a digital experience that improves engagement and recovery rates. Behavioral health patients and providers can instantly communicate and work together to build an effective, customized treatment plan. Contact us today to find out how we can help your specific organization reduce missed appointments and create meaningful interactions with your patients.