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5 Avoidable Time Drains in Behavioral Health Organizations

by Kristin Logan | Sep 01, 2016

Behavioral Health organizationsMany addiction centers, behavioral health treatment centers, crisis organizations and other behavioral health organizations are finding themselves with smaller budgets, less staff and more patients. Not exactly a recipe for efficiency. Despite many of these organizations struggling to keep their head above water, many are not aware that some of their administrative tasks could be eliminated – or at least made more efficient.

So are there ways your organization could be saving time? Most likely. Here are 5 common time drains:

1. Your large file room(s). If you have a patient return for treatment unexpectedly after 3 years, how long would it take to go to the file room and dig that one out? Never mind that the file rooms are a drain on resources, they are a drain on time, impacting release of information and critical care.
The fix: Batch scan all of your inactive files into a secure document management system. You can eliminate your file rooms and retrieve files whenever you need to with a few clicks.

2. The annual records purge. Purging records in accordance with retention mandates has to be done, of course. You can’t get away with not purging records. Where this is an unnecessary time drain is when organizations sift through records once a month or quarter and spend a few days identifying the records that need to be retained or destroyed.
The fix:  If you scan your inactive files into a document management system, you can use a workflow automation tool that will automatically trigger retention notifications based on the dates in the record. These alert the records manager when to destroy inactive files.

3. Making field workers return to the office. In the mental health industry, crisis workers have one of the most time-sensitive jobs. Making them return to the office to pick up client records or turn in forms is a drain on time that directly impacts their ability to provide critical care.
The fix: Integrate a document management system with Electronic Health Records. Then all you need to do is provide your crisis worker with a secure device to access records and important documents.

4. Your release of information process. When receiving a release of information request, many organizations have to manually (i.e. with a sharpie) redact information from the document, then copy the redacted version and distribute the copied version.
The fix: With document management systems, you can redact information electronically, without altering the original. This saves you time, preserves the original and is better at preserving patient privacy. 

5. How you manage your records. Many organizations have adopted Electronic Health Records (EHR) systems, to find that it presents a new class of problems. For example, you’re limited in what kinds of files you can attach to individual records. The addiction center that can’t attach dental X-rays, or the crisis organization that can’t attach recordings of crisis calls are missing out on opportunities to provide a higher quality of care, and creating a disorganized mess for clinicians to sort through.  
The fix: A single interface where you can access everything. Clinical notes, images, intake forms – everything. You get it by integrating a document management system with your EHR.

Saving time isn’t just about doing things more efficiently. When you save time, you’re allowing your organization to do more for your clients. In an age where services are increasingly difficult to find and behavioral health professionals are short-staffed, saving time spent on these kinds of tasks can make all the difference.

Is your practice losing valuable time on unnecessary tasks? Milner Technologies is a leading provider of document management solutions that cater to the needs of behavioral health organizations. Read about how we’ve helped other behavioral health practices.