Mental Health Awareness Month: A Big Thank You to Mental Health Professionals and 3 Unique Tools to connect Behavioral Health, Patient Access, and Epic
Over the past several months, I’ve been working with a large behavioral health provider in Texas on their implementation of Epic. Since May is Mental Health Awareness Month, I wanted to share some of my experiences supporting folks that are on the front lines of Mental Health.
It’s been an eye opening project for me in many ways and a largely rewarding experience as well. I used some well-known tools in Epic in unique ways and implemented functionality that could be applicable in other, non-behavioral health units as well.
In this post I will share three unique themes, and the tools we used to make them work, at a large behavioral health provider that have potential application in other areas.
1) Visits everywhere at any time – With many providers out in the field and visits happening at all hours of the day, they need a quick way to get a visit started while capturing the appropriate registration information. Although “One-Click” in Epic isn’t new functionality, it was an invaluable tool during the project. It provides quick and easy ways to get patients on the schedule and provide a scheduling framework that is perfect for patient access users and clinical users alike. It is a tool worth re-visiting at your organization if you are looking at non-traditional scheduling workflows.
2) Appointment Reminders – We also needed to get creative with our automated appointment reminders to address not only telehealth visits, but visits taking place outside of a traditional clinic or hospital. We leveraged arrival location functionality to not only tell the patient where they were expected to go to meet their provider but also give our confirmation vendor the ability to craft a unique message to the patient. It allowed us to utilize existing visit types and not have to create specific ones for telehealth, as is the common practice today.
3) Leave of Absence (LoA) – Patients in long-stay residential units often have the ability to leave and come back so using leave of absence workflows are vital. It’s another often underutilized tool in Epic with benefits from patient access to clinical to billing. Although it has been available for several years newer features, such as being able to automatically put patients on leave when they are admitted elsewhere, have enhanced the benefits of LoA and cut down on needless re-entering of data and performing a cycle of discharges and re-admissions. The automatic LoA feature is especially useful for health systems with multiple locations or behavioral health units embedded in hospitals where patients may need to go to the emergency department to be evaluated. Do you have a behavioral health unit that is often discharging and re-admitting patients? Leave of Absence could be a great tool for you.
As is the world of consulting, I’m wrapping up this project and preparing for my next one. But before I go, I want to give a big thank you to all of the mental health professionals across the country. As I mentioned above, being able to work with some of you over the past 6 months has been extraordinary and a reminder of how important mental health is, both professionally and personally.
At The Wilshire Group we have experts that span the revenue cycle. If you have unique processes in specialty department that need some fine-tuning, we can help! If you would like to learn more about Epic in behavioral and mental health departments, please reach out to Matt Perron.