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How to Improve Behavioral Health Patient Engagement With Technology

3 Minute Read

Patient engagement plays a critical role in behavioral health treatment success. The more engaged patients are, the more likely they are to stick with treatment plans, which translates into better patient outcomes. The continuation of treatment also means less patient turnover for clinics and a more consistent revenue stream, as well as an increased likelihood of word-of-mouth referrals.

While behavioral health patient engagement is top of mind for clinics, it can be hard to balance this need with an ever-growing volume of patients — particularly when relying on manual methods. Technology helps to fill this gap, allowing behavioral health clinics to engage with patients in a meaningful way as their organization continues to grow.

Patient portals, secure messaging, telehealth services, and automated appointment reminders are a few examples of technology that can improve patient engagement.

Behavioral Health Patient Portals

Patient portals function as a digital gateway for collaborative care. With convenient access to their health records, lab results, and educational resources, behavioral health patients can have a more active role in their mental health journey. This feeling of empowerment improves engagement.

Speaking of empowerment, patient portals often feature online appointment scheduling capabilities. Having a more convenient way to book and manage appointments reduces barriers to accessing timely care, while also making it more likely for patients to consistently engage with providers.

A patient is able to schedule an appointment online to access services from the mental health care system and support better health outcomes

Secure Messaging

Good patient communication is just as important inside the walls of a behavioral health clinic as it is outside them. Through secure online messaging platforms, patients can communicate with their provider in a timely manner without the constraints of traditional office hours. When patients have a more convenient way to connect with providers, they are more likely to express concerns and be more active in their treatment plan.

Alongside one-to-one communications, there are also those broader messages that a clinic may want to broadcast to patients. This could range from notifying patients of new services the clinic offers, to promoting special programs and workshops, to sending out feedback surveys. Such communications further support a patient-centric environment.

A patient receiving ongoing treatment receives an email communication from healthcare providers in the mental health system

Telehealth Software for Behavioral Health

Mental health services are not always readily available in certain regions, notably rural areas. While telehealth services combat these geographical restraints, they also make it easier for patients to connect with behavioral health providers on a more regular basis. When an in-person appointment isn’t feasible due to a transportation issue or illness, a telehealth alternative allows patients to stay on track in their mental health treatment.

A patient dealing with behavioral health conditions connects with mental health professionals virtually to support positive clinical outcomes

Telehealth software for behavioral health can also provide comfort to patients that are otherwise hesitant to begin the treatment process. When in a familiar environment like home, patients receiving treatment can feel more secure and relaxed about opening up to mental health professionals. The more open patients are about their own mental health and related struggles, the more beneficial the impact of treatment can be.

Automated Appointment Reminders

It’s understandable that a patient occasionally forgets about an appointment they scheduled weeks in advance. Automated appointment reminders provide patients with a proactive nudge. Without requiring any effort from clinic staff, patients can receive phone calls or texts (or both) notifying them of an upcoming appointment — with the option to reschedule if needed. Having this automated communication strategy in place reduces no-shows and ensures continuity of care.

An automated appointment reminder improves a patient's engagement in behavioral health by preventing them from forgetting their next mental health care appointment

Automated appointment reminders also encourage patients to take increased ownership of their mental health care. With reminders sent well in advance, patients feel an increased sense of responsibility and commitment to planning for and being at scheduled appointments. At the same time, they can feel the commitment on the part of the healthcare provider to enhance treatment engagement and deliver improved outcomes.

Use ClinicTracker to Your Advantage

With any patient engagement strategy, the goal is to make patients a more active participant in their care journey. It's about meeting patients where they're at, building trust, enabling shared decision making, establishing clear goals, and breaking down barriers.

Technology supports these efforts by improving communication between patients and healthcare providers, offering patients self-management tools, and making care more accessible. These benefits lay the groundwork for increased adherence to treatment plans and increased patient satisfaction that lends itself to a stronger patient-provider relationship.

An individual with a mental health diagnosis is more actively involved in their treatment planning and care journey thanks to engagement strategies like patient portals and automated appointment reminders

Patient collaboration and engagement is a core driver behind the solutions we provide at ClinicTracker. Our fully integrated EHR system supports a patient-centered approach to care through:

  • A HIPAA-compliant patient portal that gives patients 24/7 access to information
  • Allowing patients to see provider availability and schedule appointments online
  • Giving patients the freedom to send messages to their treatment team or support staff
  • The efficient creation of reminders and updates to send out to specific patient groups
  • Telehealth capabilities that make it easy to schedule virtual sessions as well as join via the patient portal
  • Generating automatic appointment reminders by phone and/or text message

We’re proud to deliver features that optimize the patient experience, foster good communication, and ultimately help improve behavioral health patient engagement. To see these features in action, request a ClinicTracker demo. You'll see first-hand how our software can help you form stronger connections with patients, ensure compliance with treatment plans, and encourage active patient participation in the therapy process.