How to Improve Care Management for Mental Health

With increased population growth and disease prevalence, pressures on healthcare organizations have forced teams to take a more proactive, holistic approach to disease prevention. From this new approach, a mental healthcare management model has emerged that emphasizes care outside of the traditional healthcare system—both during and after states of disease.

The management of patient care is especially important in treating people with mental health challenges. This article will focus on implementing a medical management system to better meet the needs of patients with mental illnesses.

What is mental healthcare management?

The official definition refers to a style of care that involves educating patients and their support systems about managing their healthcare journey more effectively. Rather than simply treating a disease, as would traditionally happen under a “case management” model, mental healthcare management emphasizes prevention, education, and social support systems.

In this way, management of care can be led by healthcare teams but implemented by individuals outside of standard healthcare systems. This more comprehensive route reduces the burden on healthcare teams while increasing public health.

Why is mental healthcare management important?

When it comes to coordinating holistic care, mental healthcare management has an especially important role to play. Under a traditional case management model, healthcare services are only deployed after the diagnosis of a disease.

However, when someone suffers from a mental illness, it can be difficult to recognize, find help, and treat. For example, it may be years before someone with major depressive disorder seeks treatment for their disease. Then, it may take many more months before they are able to find a specialist and receive a diagnosis.

Even after all that, the first or second treatment options may not be successful, and it could be several years before the mental health professional and patient are able to find a treatment option that works. Under this model, people with mental health disorders may never get the help they need, and their overall health will suffer because of it.

To reach people with mental health disorders, a mental healthcare management model is much more effective. Prevention, awareness, and education of patients and their support networks are excellent tools for helping patients who have mental health disorders. By using a model like this to address mental health, you can improve the overall health of your patients.

More about mental healthcare management services

The challenges

While most healthcare workers agree that mental healthcare management is an effective and necessary measure for their patients, there have historically been a few challenges to implementing these services. They are as follows:

  • Lack of access to mental healthcare providers. There are still very few mental health practices available. This makes it hard for physicians to build relationships with mental health providers and prevents physicians from referring patients to them.
  • Small practices lack resources. With limited resources, small practices are unable to adopt mental health services into their practice. This makes it very difficult to offer mental healthcare management and the management of other conditions and diseases.
  • The burden of mental health falls on other care providers. This is because of the factors mentioned above. When this happens, appropriate care can fall through the cracks or be mismanaged.

Luckily, there are services that can help practices that are not staffed with mental health providers—or are too small to expand their services to include mental healthcare management using some of the latest technology. Welkin, for instance, helps healthcare providers assess, track, and follow up with their patients, making the management of care for all different types of diseases easier than ever.

The solutions

Industry best practices for implementing mental healthcare management include taking the following steps:

  • Identify populations with modifiable risks, including behavioral and psychosocial factors.
  • Tailor your services to the needs of different populations, based on risk factors and input from patients.
  • Facilitate training to access resources that address the needs of different populations, such as Mental Health America.

Management tools like Welkin can help you implement these steps by collecting data on the needs of different patients, identifying modifiable risk factors, and centralizing communication among different organizations. Small practices that traditionally do not have the capacity for these activities can rely on Welkin to implement mental healthcare management for mental illnesses and for other diseases, too.

The results

By implementing a patient management system that allows for the proper management of care for mental health patients, different kinds of care providers can help treat mental health—regardless of their training. Rather than being burdened with carrying the weight of mental health screening, assessment, and referral, staff in any healthcare organization that deals with mental health can defer to a software program like Welkin.

By doing so, care professionals can provide better care with less effort. It’s a true win-win for everyone involved.

Start improving your mental healthcare management today

No matter your organization’s size or scope, the right technology can improve your team’s mental healthcare management efforts. Whether it’s implementing a technique to address your patients’ mental health concerns, or streamlining an existing system for doing so, we strive to make every healthcare interaction more meaningful.

Don’t rely on bloated systems of recording data, or outdated techniques for assessing and following up with patients. Implement a system that truly makes sense to give your team and your patients the best chance of success—and makes life a little easier for all at the same time.

Read more about how Welkin is helping healthcare teams expand their most important services.

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