Blog: Technology Consulting

Behavioral Health IT: Is Outsourcing the Way of the Future?

August 17, 2023 - by Synoptek

In today’s day, remote healthcare has become an incredibly large component of how people receive their medical services. Patients across the world want to receive as much care as they can remotely, in the comfort of their homes – without having to travel to a hospital physically. Although efforts are already underway toward improving how telehealth is delivered and consumed, one area that should be streamlined is behavioral health.

Behavioral Health IT

Read on to learn why well-designed, user-friendly interfaces, efficient clinical processes, secure and easily accessible platforms, and accurate documentation is critical.

The Current State of Behavioral Health IT

Behavioral health issues are on the rise; it is estimated that most adults suffer from several behavioral health issues over the course of their lifetime: from anxiety and depression to eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorders, substance use, and bipolar disorder. In America, one out of every five adults struggles with a mental health condition. However, a staggering 60% continue to encounter challenges when trying to obtain the essential care they require.

Behavioral health information technology is extremely disarrayed and disorganized. Here is what the current state looks like:

  • Social Stigma: Although healthcare is increasingly being made easily accessible and affordable to the masses, when it comes to behavioral health, there is still an immense social stigma attached. Knowing that people with mental health issues do not always seek treatment, organizations do not invest in implementing or updating their Behavioral health IT systems.
  • Knowledge Gaps: Even though modern technology is used to improve behavioral health practices, most of it is either outdated or not brought to patients in need.
  • Inaccessibility: Another major challenge with Behavioral health information technology is sheer inaccessibility to the required facilities. Most institutions providing mental health services do not have the capability to take care of the rising demand.
  • Workforce Shortages: There is also the challenge of a shortage of qualified healthcare IT workers; in the absence of the right skillsets, it becomes difficult for health specialists to share information on the latest trends and practices with others – causing a huge gap in the demand-supply chain.
  • Payment Challenges: Traditional fee-for-service payment models further restrict patients from seeking behavioral health services. Today’s tech-savvy patients prefer managed care models for mental health services, as it allows them access to required care as and when needed – but it is seldom offered by healthcare organizations.

Bringing Your Healthcare Organization’s Strategy Up to Date

Health Information Technology in general has facilitated the delivery of safe, high-quality, and cost-effective care. However, its application in behavioral healthcare has been rather slow, limiting how patients seek care for mental health or other behavioral issues. Given the far-reaching impact of the pandemic on behavioral health, there is an urgent need to bring the healthcare organization’s strategy up to date. This includes:

  • Making necessary changes to health infrastructure: Ensuring patients with mental disorders have timely access to quality care is the need of the hour. A strong national health information infrastructure needs to be created, with health IT fully integrated within this network. Having critical patient health information in a single place can allow doctors to be aware of their physical and mental health conditions and pave the way for better diagnosis and treatment.
  • Enabling better integration: To improve access to behavioral healthcare, organizations must take steps to include behavioral health in the overall healthcare strategy. They need to make several policy changes to enable safe and better integration between behavioral health and primary care using a modern mix of disparate technologies at virtually every point in the care continuum.
  • Structuring and standardizing data: Another way to bring the healthcare organization’s strategy up-to-date is by having systems in place that capture health information in a structured and standardized format and improve communication between different care providers. Since patients interact with various healthcare providers across the care lifecycle – right from physicians to lab technicians – such standardization can allow for behavioral health information to be represented at the same depth and breadth as other medical information.

The Keys to a Successful Behavioral Health IT Experience

Technology can play a critical role in improving behavioral health care and further enabling care coordination through increased collaboration, integration, and information sharing. With the right technology in place, healthcare organizations can not only ensure continuity in care services but also drive efforts toward building an interoperable, highly available, and highly secure healthcare system across the care lifecycle. The keys to a successful behavioral health IT experience include:

  • Making use of modern clinical information systems for comprehensive clinical documentation and decision-making. Such systems can not only help in capturing physical health data, but they can also keep a close tab on mental health conditions, allowing doctors to offer behavioral healthcare proactively.
  • Leveraging the capabilities of connected healthcare to empower patients, enhance engagement, and improve access to care. As patients get more and more involved in how care is delivered, connected health tools can allow patients to receive behavioral healthcare in the most proactive and efficient manner.
  • Unearthing insights as quickly and efficiently as possible from across the healthcare lifecycle. As patient data gets increasingly stored in myriad siloed EMRs, legacy systems, files, and applications, creating a data-driven culture from strategy to implementation can allow for behavioral health data to be integrated from various sources, thus leading to timely and accurate analysis.
  • Offering modern self-service capabilities to keep up with evolving patient expectations and the shifting regulatory landscape. Given that many patients still refrain from seeking behavioral healthcare, self-service tools can allow them to carry out self-diagnosis, home check-ins, and digital billing, as well as read about behavioral health symptoms, causes, and possible treatments.
  • Opting for the expertise of qualified healthcare IT providers who can deliver HIPAA-compliant healthcare information technology solutions such as on-site staff augmentation, 24×7 help desk, hosted communication services, and remote and collocated infrastructure. Under the support and guidance of an expert provider, organizations can make the required changes to IT infrastructure, policies, and processes and ensure alignment with behavioral health as with physical health.

Why Should Behavioral Health Professionals Consider Outsourcing IT?

With behavioral health issues on the rise, healthcare organizations need to think of ways to adopt technology to deliver a digital-first, patient-centric healthcare experience. Given the stigma around behavioral health, there is a pressing need to leverage modern behavioral health technology systems and solutions and enhance the safety, effectiveness, and personalization of behavioral healthcare.

Discover the transformative potential of behavioral health information technology with our comprehensive IT services. Contact us now to leverage our expertise in healthcare IT and embrace the future of behavioral health.