In the 21st century, addiction and rehabilitation centers are facing a severe crisis – there’s too much on their plate. Be it inpatient rehab, detox sessions, or outpatient appointments, employees are often juggling between patient care, insurance issues, and whatnot.
John Hopkins Medicine found that substance abuse affects 20 million Americans over the age of 12. Of these numbers, most avoid treatment (for extended periods) due to fear, hopelessness, stigma, and doubt. Even so, hundreds of thousands of Americans seek help each year through a rehab program.
If rehab centers wish to see positive patient outcomes, they must concentrate on quality care. However, that is just the tip of the iceberg. The facility’s success depends upon overall streamlined performance. When each department works efficiently, the organization finds itself in a win-win position – improved patient outcomes and high profitability.
This article will talk about three ways in which addiction and rehab centers can enhance efficiency.
Proper Revenue Cycle Management
Behavioral health billing is a major area that many rehab centers struggle with. It is becoming notoriously challenging to get reimbursement from payers. Centers are saddled with problems that permeate spheres like coding, benefits verification, data management, receivables follow-ups, and more.
Add to it the conundrum of ever-evolving federal and state laws, and erroneous billing becomes inevitable, albeit inexcusable. Such mistakes impact reimbursements and disrupt smooth revenue flow. Revenue cycle management is a key aspect of running a successful rehab center, especially since a lack of cash flow is a top reason for losing market credibility.
Treatment providers want their teams to focus on what they do best – deliver quality patient care. This, however, depends on whether or not the finance part is well taken care of. Rehab centers can outsource the billing to reliable medical billing services. However, even that requires much caution.
According to Millin Associates, the healthcare billing process has shifted from a single-payer system to a complex multi-payer scenario. Rehab centers need to ensure that their Revenue Cycle Management (RCM) platform can adapt to the changing laws.
This will ensure the highest rate for the services rendered along with clean claims and reduced denials. Once the profitability is well under control, your team can concentrate all their efforts on patient care.
Utilizing Data Analytics
One major hurdle that mental health treatment providers face is assessing the success of their treatment plans. While physical health improvements are evident, the same is not true of psychological health. For instance – just when you might believe that an addict is recovering, they could suddenly slip into a relapse.
Studies reveal that at least 40% to 60% of individuals in rehab centers slide into a relapse. Some of the common reasons include bad company, moments of opportunity and weakness, poor self-care, isolation or boredom, and overconfidence. Though not everything is under your control, data analytics can still help you understand a treatment plan’s success rate.
Let’s take an example of this. Even after a patient leaves the rehab center, their progress can be closely monitored through wearable tech. Certain changes in heart rate, pulse, etc., should give an idea that the patient is tempted to yield. Not only that but even the changing substance abuse lingo can be tracked down across social platforms.
This way, you may decode information as to whether the patient is planning to meet up for a drug purchase. Behavioral patterns such as these help doctors to identify at-risk patients who might slip into a relapse.
When the early signs are detected, doctors can implement prevention strategies like mind-body relaxation and cognitive therapy. Additionally, the team can educate patients on healthy coping skills and the importance of creating a new life after recovery.
Encouraging Patient Autonomy in Addiction Recovery
Be it physical or mental health, a patient must feel like they can control their treatment plan and final outcome. Medical science accords extraordinary respect to values such as personal autonomy.
This is especially necessary in an addiction, where only the patient has the power to make a total recovery. Suppose an individual’s family admitted them into a rehab center while the patient resists the process.
Unless the latter makes up their mind to be free from the enslavement of substance abuse, there is little hope of a cure. This is why it is so important for caregivers and rehab centers to handle the matter with care and sensitivity. Together, an intervention plan can be devised to –
- Help the patient understand the consequences of their actions
- Let them see how their present actions are affecting those around them
- Show them the striking contrast between their life before substance abuse and after
- Encourage the patient that there is still hope and they have full support to get out of the mess
Once they have resolved to seek help, one may expect them to make some effort to follow through with the treatment. Consequently, such patients will try to avoid people, things, and places that may tempt them to return to that lifestyle (after treatment).
This aspect of addiction recovery is crucial. After all, a rehab center’s success rests on the number of patients who move on to live sober lives years after the treatment.
Another way in which treatment providers can improve patient outcomes at fair costs is to provide value-based care (VBC). Though other healthcare fields have implemented this practice, its momentum in addiction recovery is rather slow.
VBC would involve scientific patient placement tools, deploying new-gen technologies, and creating longer treatment plans to avoid relapse. Though behavioral healthcare is at its tipping point, each facility must ensure operational efficiency to make hay while the sun shines.