6 Steps To Improving CCBHC Outcomes The Berks Counseling Center Case Study

On May 25, 2022, Qualifacts’ CCBHC Program Manager Mary Givens and John Heim, Technology Specialist, EHR Systems for Berks Counseling Center discussed a 6-step process for improving performance on behavioral health led CCBHC outcomes. They provided insight into the greatest challenges of high performance on the CCBHC behavioral health led measures along with the successes and lessons learned from a mature CCBHC.

Presentation Slides

How To Optimize Technology: An OPEN MINDS Seminar On Getting The Most Value From Your Technology Investments

This presentation took place on August 23, 2021 at The 2021 OPEN MINDS Management Best Practices Institute. In this session, Sharon Hicks, Senior Associate and Kim Bond, Executive Vice President at OPEN MINDS, discussed what needs to be addressed to ensure your organization is on the path to maximizing your tech investment, including:

  • How to evaluate new technologies for your organization
  • Engaging staff in a best practice technology evaluation process
  • Determining anticipated financial and non-financial return-on-investments for the selected technology
  • Go or No-Go: Moving beyond pilot to full implementation
  • Ensuring implementation success

Technology Strategy For Sustainability—EHRs Are Just The Start

This closing keynote presentation took place October 27, 2021 during The 2021 OPEN MINDS Technology & Analytics Institute. OPEN MINDS Chief Executive Officer Monica E. Oss gave an up-to-the-minute look at the critical changes in the landscape for serving complex consumers – and what they mean for organizational sustainability post-pandemic.

This session covered:

  • The context for selecting technology in an ever changing and shifting field
  • Critical organizational competencies your organization must have for efficiency and sustainability
  • A framework for data-driven strategy and technology assessment
  • This closing keynote presentation took place October 27, 2021 during The 2021 OPEN MINDS Technology & Analytics Institute. OPEN MINDS Chief Executive Officer Monica E. Oss gave an up-to-the-minute look at the critical changes in the landscape for serving complex consumers – and what they mean for organizational sustainability post-pandemic.

    This session covered:

    • The context for selecting technology in an ever changing and shifting field
    • Critical organizational competencies your organization must have for efficiency and sustainability
    • A framework for data-driven strategy and technology assessment

Making Tech Work

By Monica E. Oss, Chief Executive Officer

Tech investment in health care is big. Eighty percent of health care provider organization executive teams are looking to make additional investments in technology in the next five years (see Future Of Healthcare Report: Exploring Healthcare Stakeholders’ Expectations For The Next Chapter). As a result, the health care tech market is expected to grow from $326.1 billion in 2021 to $821.1 billion by 2026 (see Healthcare IT Market by Products & Services, Components, End-User, and Region).

Currently, tech investments by specialty provider organizations have focused on EHRs (88%) and telehealth platforms (85%). About half of specialty provider organizations have invested in referral tracking systems, health information exchange technology, fundraising tools, ePrescribing tools, and clinical decision support systems (see The Computer Is A Moron and The 2021 OPEN MINDS Health & Human Services Technology Survey). But the changing landscape is changing the tech functionality that specialty and primary care provider organizations need to maintain competitive advantage and sustainability. According to The OPEN MINDS 2021 National Behavioral Health Electronic Health Record Survey, 56% of these provider organization executive teams report having tech functionality gaps—and 21% stated an intention to procure a new EHR (see The Times Have Changed. So Have Our EHR Concerns.). Our team at OPEN MINDS thinks this focus will be on integrated analytics, technologies supporting hybrid care delivery (scheduling, mobile, visit verification, etc.), consumer engagement, and managing alternate reimbursement contracts.

But with more technology come problems of implementation and optimization. First, there are privacy and security issues. About a third of behavioral health provider organizations were cited by Accreditation Commission for Health Care (ACHC) for having incomplete, substandard policies related to protection of patient data (see One-Third Of Behavioral Health Organizations Have Incomplete Policies For Health Information Protection). The ACHC also cited 26% of these organizations for missing documentation, 20% for missing information on staff background checks, and 20% for missing information on staff Hepatitis B vaccination. And the on-line apps in the behavioral health field are not doing much better (see Does Mental Health Privacy Really Matter To Consumers?).

Another issue—adoption of data-driven decision making. A recent survey found that 74% of health care provider organizations use clinical decision support technology—but in limited ways. The key uses of clinical decision support are medication orders (30%), lab orders (24%), and medical imaging orders (20%) (see The Process Matters). And, only 16% of community mental health center executives have adopted measurement-based care (MBC) technology (see 16% Of Community Mental Health Centers Use Measurement-Based Care, Despite Knowledge Of Value).

For more, I reached out to my colleague and OPEN MINDS Senior Associate Joe Naughton-Travers to get an understanding of why, when technology is so critical to the future competitive advantage of provider organizations, are there so many challenges in both adoption and implementation. “I think the biggest issue for health and human services is that organizations usually don’t have a technology strategy and roadmap,” Mr. Naughton-Travers said. “Some organizations are still struggling to get the basic data systems in place (EHR, human resources information systems, and general ledger systems) and others are still a long way off from achieving analytic and performance optimization. In terms of poor management practices, the problem is usually the lack of formal project planning and project management in both selecting and implementing technologies.”

How to plot a path to tech success? He had three recommendations—systematically identify technology gaps, adopt a deliberate adoption roadmap, and make sure you have the right staff to get the job done.

Systematically identify technology gaps—Provider organization executive teams should conduct a regular needs assessment to ascertain what functions they are lacking, and what tech can fulfill that need. This needs assessment should be concurrent with implementation planning for a strategic plan. Answering three critical questions should drive the process: what competency do you need, who on your team will be using the tool, and how will that technology adoption create and drive value for the consumer, the payer, and the care continuum?

Develop a deliberate tech adoption roadmap—Once an executive team has determined the technologies needed to achieve both strategic and business objectives, a timeline for selecting and implementing new tech tools is the next step. Managers need to look beyond “the basics” and identify the technology requirements needed to support strategic plan objectives.

Invest in the right staff—New technology brings new competency requirements among executives and managers. Success requires upgrading the skills of existing team members and/or finding new team members with the competencies to implement, manage, and optimize the new tools. Technology is no longer an afterthought—the entire executive team needs to be involved with ongoing technology planning and optimization.

Mr. Naughton-Travers concluded, “When technology implementations fail to achieve their goals, it’s a “double whammy”—you have spent a bunch of money and the problem you needed to solve still exists. Far too many organizations make this exact, costly mistake.”

For more on technology adoption and implementation, check out these resources in The OPEN MINDS Circle Library:

And for more on getting your “tech game” where it needs to be, mark your calendar for June 14-16 and The 2022 OPEN MINDS Strategy & Innovation Institute in New Orleans, Louisiana. Be sure to check out the session, Technology For Innovation: How Do You Know What You Need?, featuring Julie Sjordal, Chief Executive Officer at St. David’s Center for Child & Family Development, along with OPEN MINDS Senior Associates, Carol Clayton, Ph.D. and Sharon Hicks.

Tech For Success: How To Assess Current Tech Functionality Readiness For Future Growth

By Joe Naughton-Travers, Ed.M.

With my work at OPEN MINDS, I’m often asked by my specialty health care provider organization clients which type of technology is the most important. My answer is always the same: it’s not about the individual technology itself, it’s about how all of the technology platforms come together and “play nice” to manage and optimize overall clinical and financial performance. Without the integration across all platforms, each are merely working in silos without the ability to use each platform’s data as decision-making guides for the organization.

In response, I’ve worked with our team of senior advisors to develop a technology platform framework for specialty provider organizations to aid in planning technology needed for the future. This framework has six domains:

#1 Electronic Health Record & Billing System — The functionality of a comprehensive electronic health record (EHR) software application.

#2 Human Resource Information System & Financial/General Ledger System — These are the two other key software applications for administrative operations. The Human Resource Information System (HRIS) is the software that maintains, manages, and processes detailed employee information and human resources-related policies and procedures. The Financial/General Ledger System is the software that tracks all financial transactions and is used to generate a company’s financial statements.

#3 Hybrid & Community Based Service Delivery Platform — Technology tools that support virtual and community-based service delivery.

#4 Consumer Experience & Engagement Platform — Technologies for enhancing consumer engagement in the health care experience and optimizing consumers’ experience with the system of care.

#5 Value-Based / Risk-Based Reimbursement Platform — Technology capabilities that support measuring value in terms of customer experience and engagement and of the cost and quality of services.

#6 Integrated Analytics & Service Performance Optimization — Software applications for aggregating and analyzing the data from all the other software systems and databases to manage and optimize clinical and financial performance.

Domain #1: A Whole Person Care Record: Comprehensive EHR Software

The first requirement is a comprehensive EHR software application for all the consumers your organization serves, and all the service lines delivered. The EHR must record the demographic and clinical data for consumers, the services they receive, and the corresponding clinical documentation. Additionally, the EHR must:

  • Document all referrals and referral dispositions
  • Support tracking performance and clinical quality metrics
  • Include standard functionality for medical services (e.g., e-prescribing, laboratory orders, and electronic medication administration records)
  • Provide support for the delivery of routine primary care services

Mobile access to the EHR (both on- and off-line) is a must, and clinical decision support for medical necessity, clinical appropriateness for care, evidence-based practices, and payer-mandated clinical pathways is highly desirable. The EHR should be interoperable with the EHRs of other provider organizations to facilitate care coordination. Lastly, the software must handle all of your organization’s billing and accounts receivable operations (including fee-for-service, bundled, case rate, and VBR payment models) and have tools for maximizing revenue collection.

That covers the technical details—the functionality of a good electronic health record. The essential questions to ask about any EHR system are:

  • Does the EHR help you manage whole person care for the consumers you serve?
  • Does it have functionality to monitor physical and behavioral health as well as social determinants of health (SDoH)?
  • Does it aid in care coordination with other provider organizations to achieve the best health outcomes?

If your EHR software application is not addressing these key service management functions, it is time to consider a change.

Domain #2: Managing Administrative Functions: Human Resource & Financial Management Software

The second domain helps provider organizations ensure that key administrative operations—human resources and finance—have the right software applications to meet your organization’s needs. The HRIS (human resource information system) must do more than track employees, salaries, and benefits. The HRIS also should include functionality for job applicant tracking and position control, time and attendance tracking, employee self-service capabilities, and a learning management system. A final requirement is comprehensive support for employee appraisals and development plans.

The financial management software (sometimes called the general ledger or accounting system) should have all the basic capabilities: budgeting, financial reporting, payroll, accounts payable, and fixed asset management. To support VBR contracts, the financial management software also needs to have the capability to aid in the management of the cost-of-service delivery—overall—and for individual health plan contracts. (It will need access to the service delivery data in the EHR to do this.) Lastly, this software application should have functionality for monitoring and managing health plan contracts and other payer contracts.

Domain #3: Delivering Care Conveniently: Hybrid & Community-Based Service Delivery Capabilities

This domain is more than just the telehealth services that your organization has become proficient at delivering during the COVID-19 pandemic. It includes other technologies that support and enhance your community- and home-based care delivery. Telehealth capabilities must be integrated into the EHR itself and should also be available on mobile devices so that community-based staff can bring in additional staff virtually when needed. Electronic visit verification (EVV) is needed to report that staff were physically present at consumer service delivery sites during community-based care. Smart home and remote health monitoring technologies can be used to ensure the health and safety of consumers. Secure communication between staff and consumers should be available in multiple formats (text, email, telephone, and video). Ideally, you would also have technologies that aid in route optimization for staff travel in the community as well as tools for managing these field and remote-based staff.

Domain #4: A Focus On Customer Service: Consumer Experience & Engagement Tools

Technology in this fourth domain is new to many specialty provider organizations. Consumer experience is the subjective response consumers have with any contact with your organization. Questions you might consider when evaluating for consumer experience include:

  • Are your services convenient and easy to access?
  • Are communication and other interactions smooth and painless?
  • Is there a personal touch to service delivery and an impression of quality?

Consumer engagement is when individuals take action to become more informed and more proactively involved in his or her health and the health care services received. There are numerous technology tools to help with both consumer experience and engagement, including:

  • 24/7 centralized access to care
  • An easy to navigate website with the ability to access care and schedule appointments
  • A consumer portal for communication, bill payment, and health record access
  • Web- and app-based self-directed consumer health and well-being technologies
  • Enhanced social media presence
  • Net promoter scoring integrated into all aspects of care delivery
  • Appointment and health check-in reminders via telephone, text, and email

As provider organizations expand their focus on consumer experience and engagement, a key focus is to determine which technology tools they may already have to support these efforts and which they will need to acquire and implement.

Domain #5: Managing Care & Costs:  A Value-Based Reimbursement Platform

The fifth domain of the technology platform framework is technology tools for managing service performance and cost. Provider organizations should assume that most, if not all, of their health plan contracts in the future will be value-based, with both upsides and downsides in terms of payment models. You’ll need technologies that monitor clinical quality metrics in comparison to contract requirements. Will these be in your EHR? In other software applications? In analytic dashboards?

You’ll also need to monitor other contract performance metrics. Examples include metrics to monitor access to care, treatment engagement, telephone and referral response time, and other industry standard metrics such as Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS) and Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCHBC) requirements. You may also be required to track and monitor SDOH and adherence to evidence-based practices.

Other key questions you’ll want to consider about managing care and cost include:

  • What other technologies can better facilitate your ability to manage care and cost?
  • Can you accomplish this with your EHR and financial management software alone?
  • Do you need to invest in a better telephone system and website?
  • Should you implement separate technology tools for quality and performance tracking that your EHR cannot handle?

This leads to Domain #6—does your organization need business intelligence and data analytic technologies to aggregate, analyze, and present the data in a meaningful way to your staff?

Putting It All Together With Domain #6:  Analytics & Optimization

The last domain uses technology for aggregating your data in a meaningful way to proactively manage your organization. This is accomplished by utilizing business intelligence (BI) or other data analytic software applications that aggregate data for analysis and performance optimization. This is the ‘holy grail’ of performance measurement and optimization, having meaningful data to report your organization’s financial strength and operational performance and to monitor progress towards strategic objectives.

Most commonly, provider organizations begin with using these technology tools to manage and optimize clinical quality and performance metrics through reporting. The next step is to implement the use of dashboards for the board of directors, the executive team, department managers and individual staff. The most sophisticated use of BI software applications for specialty provider health care organizations is for population-health management. Here, BI software applications are used to provide the analytics to improve the health of the overall population of consumers served, to enhance consumer experience, and to reduce costs through consumer segmentation and analytics.

Where To Start In Building A “Next Generation” Technology Platform

The question is how to proceed with planning for and implementing the technology functionality needed to support future growth plans. There is a two-step process—addressing both immediate functionality needs for success in the current market and assessing the technology needed to support your strategic plan.

For the first, addressing immediate functionality needs, we have created a short assessment of ‘must have’ current tech functionality—The OPEN MINDS’ Technology Requirements Checklist – Eighteen Must-Have Capabilities For Specialty Provider Organization Success. To see how your organization stacks up in this preliminary list, go through the checklist.

OPEN MINDS’ Technology Requirements Checklist – Eighteen Must-Have Capabilities For Specialty Provider Organization Success   Yes   No   Working
    On It
#1 Electronic Health Record & Billing System
Does your EHR handle all your health record documentation and billing requirements?
Does your EHR have the capability to share data with other provider organizations (interoperability)?
Does your EHR have mobile access (both on-line and off-line)?
#2 Human Resource Information System & Financial/General Ledger System
Does your HRIS include functionality for job applicant tracking, position control, and employee self-service?
Is your Financial/General Ledger System chart of accounts set-up so that you can report the unit cost and case costs of all the services you deliver?
Does your Financial/General Ledger System include contract management functionality?
#3 Hybrid & Community Based Service Delivery Platform
Do you have secure telehealth technologies in operation?
Do you have electronic visit verification (EVV) in operation?
Do you have technologies in place to monitor or report consumers’ health status (e.g. blood pressure, body mass index, lab levels, etc.)?
#4 Consumer Experience & Engagement Platform
Do you have centralized scheduling or other tools that make it easy for consumers, their families, and referral sources to access care at your organization?
Can consumers communicate securely with their care providers through a web portal, text, or other technologies?
Have you implemented net promoter scores, or a similar measure, to routinely measure consumer experience?
#5 Value-Based / Risk-Based Reimbursement Platform
Does your team have a system for reporting payer-centric and consumer-centric performance metrics?
Do you have technologies in place to report timely access to care and hospitalization readmission performance metrics?
Do you have a system to report other value-based and risk-based reimbursement contract performance measures such as follow-up after hospitalization, emergency room utilization, and use of evidence-based care protocols?
#6 Integrated Analytics & Service Performance Optimization
Do you have software technologies in place that can aggregate data from your EHR, HRIS, and Financial/General Ledger System to report on key strategy metrics?
Do executives and managers have access to real-time dashboards for key performance and operational metrics?
Does your staff know how to interpret and use the data that is available to them for performance management (data literacy)?

This checklist provides an assessment of basic technology-enabled management capabilities. Where there are gaps in these management capabilities, management teams should develop a plan to meet these functionality basics. If there are functionality deficiencies in Domain #1 and #2 (the EHR, HRIS, and GL systems) these should be an area of immediate focus.

Beyond these basic areas of tech-enabled management capabilities, executive teams need to also crosswalk their strategic plans with the tech requirements to support those strategic initiatives. For more on that process, see From Strategic Plan To Tech Strategy: Building Your Crosswalk.

Looking ahead, every executive team member—and not just the CIO or CTO—need to focus on the coming digital transformation of the health and human service field—and the strategy and technology needed to succeed.

Qualifacts + Credible Named 2022 Best In Klas: Software & Services

GETTYSBURG, Pa. (February 20, 2022) — Qualifacts + Credible, a leading provider of electronic health record (EHR) platforms for behavioral health and human services organizations, today announced the Credible platform has ranked No. 1 in the 2022 Best in KLAS: Software and Services report.

Additionally, Qualifacts + Credible’s CareLogic EHR platform is ranked No. 2 in the 2022 Best in KLAS: Software and Services report.

The Best in KLAS report recognizes software and services companies who excel in helping healthcare professionals improve patient care. All rankings are a direct result of the feedback of thousands of providers over the last year. A Best in KLAS award signifies to the healthcare IT industry the commitment and partnership that the top vendors should provide.

“We are honored by the trust our partners place in us every day, and their success is our highest priority. This recognition from KLAS is a great validation of the remarkable work our teams have done in support of our mission to be an innovative and trusted technology and solutions partner, said Paul Ricci, chief executive officer at Qualifacts + Credible.

“Each year, thousands of healthcare professionals across the globe take the time to share their voice with KLAS. They know that sharing their perspective helps vendors to improve and helps their peers make better decisions. These conversations are a constant reminder to me of how necessary accurate, honest, and impartial reporting is in the healthcare industry. The Best in KLAS report and the awards it contains set the standard of excellence for software and services firms. Vendors who win the title of Best in KLAS should celebrate and remember that providers now accept only the best from their products and services. The Best in KLAS award serves as a signal to provider and payer organizations that they should expect excellence from the winning vendors,” said KLAS CEO Adam Gale.

About Qualifacts + Credible   
Qualifacts + Credible is one of the largest behavioral health and human services EHR vendors in the country. Its mission is to partner with customers to support and extend their ability to deliver quality care and improve the lives of the clients they serve. With more than 20 years of experience its products and services help customers achieve interoperability goals, optimize efficiency, improve productivity, and maximize reimbursement. The company offers several EHRs – CareLogic, Credible and InSync – while collaborating to build an even brighter future for partner agencies and their clients.

About KLAS
KLAS has been providing accurate, honest, and impartial insights for the healthcare IT (HIT) industry since 1996. The KLAS mission is to improve the world’s healthcare by amplifying the voice of providers and payers. The scope of our research is constantly expanding to best-fit market needs as technology becomes increasingly sophisticated. KLAS finds the hard-to-get HIT data by building strong relationships with our payer and provider friends in the industry. Learn more at klasresearch.com.

Finding An Electronic Health Record System For Your Future: The OPEN MINDS Executive Seminar On Best Practices In EHR Selection, Contracting & Optimization

Executive Seminar Sponsored By Qualifacts + Credible

Over the past twenty years the adoption of electronic health record systems (EHRs) has changed how health services are managed and delivered. But as the health care system has continued to evolve with more value-based reimbursement, the push towards integrated care coordination, and the rise in consumerism, the technology infrastructure needed by provider organizations has changed—including EHRs. For most executives, the EHR is a major investment and choosing the right system (or keeping the wrong system) can make or break any organization.

This seminar is for any executive who is considering a new EHR system—whether it is your organization’s first EHR, or the upgrade of a system that isn’t delivering the functionality needed for sustainability. This essential seminar will guide you through a step-by-step process for selecting an EHR that fits all your organization’s needs. The seminar will cover:

  • A best practice model for assessing the tech functionality your organization needs for future success.
  • Steps for vetting vendors and their products and services.
  • Budgeting for EHR software and implementation.
  • Ensuring best value and performance in contract negotiating.

The 2021 OPEN MINDS Technology & Analytics Institute

Stop by our booths (212, 214, 215, 216, and 217) on October 25-28, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada, for The 2021 OPEN MINDS Technology & Analytics Institute! Our team would love the chance to speak with you as you try your luck at one of our claw machines. We look forward to seeing you there!

Connected Care: The EHR’s Role in a Patient-Centered Healthcare Ecosystem

Behavioral health agencies need EHR technology that offers ease of use, visibility, dashboards, frictionless exchange of info, and awareness of clinical data and updates, all without custom integrations. They also need a platform that can securely integrate into other data-collecting platforms — both those that exist now and those yet to come — to make it easier and timelier to share information.

This webinar will discuss:

  • What type of information EHRs are currently providing to outside parties, such as HIEs
  • How the right EHR will improve both compliance and organizational success
  • How to determine if your EHR is ready and, if not, the next steps to take

Attendees will learn:

  • What types of outside entities or platforms EHRs are sharing data with now
  • The importance of having EHR technology that can adapt to current and future data-sharing needs
  • What to look for when evaluating EHR readiness when it comes to external data sharing