4 Trends And Tactics For Improving Patient Outcomes In Psychotherapy Practices
Behavioral health practices continuously face challenges in managing and improving patient outcomes. This is because psychotherapy requires extensive, rigorous engagement with every patient while acknowledging that every patient is unique in their circumstances.
To improve the patient outcomes of your practice, staying abreast of trends and findings in patient interactions should be at the top of your priorities.
Here are 4 trends and tactics with patient outcomes you should know:
4 Trends About Patient Outcomes In Psychotherapy And How You Can Improve Your Operation
1. Patient-provider relationships continue to be a predominant factor in patient outcomes
One of the most significant factors of successful clinical intervention is the patient’s relationship with the provider. Patients are more likely to be conducive to treatment if they have an intimate connection with their therapist. Conversely, when patients feel that their therapists are detached or apathetic, they’re more likely to drop out of treatment. Maintaining such relationships, however, may be difficult due to the other workload that providers may have.
Strategy: Train your providers to engage in the “positive psychiatry” approach wherein providers do the following:
- Set clear goals for their patients
- Be non-judgmental and non-biased in their approach
- Facilitate an optimistic environment for their patients
It’s important to ensure that providers always have the bandwidth to maintain positive relationships with their patients. To do this, help them manage their workload by spacing out their appointments to provide sufficient patient interaction time.
2. Patient engagement can decrease outside of clinical intervention
The patient journey involves not just the patient’s time inside the clinic but also outside of it. If patients feel disengaged from your practice, clinical intervention may be less successful despite how effective your provider’s care is.
Strategy: Engage with your patients even outside of appointment time. Send texts and emails reminding them about practices or techniques their therapist taught them. Ideally, providers should communicate with patients actively. But if their workload is too heavy, you can also assign your mental health receptionists to send text and email letters and reminders in order to maintain engagement.
3. Mismanaged patient expectations may lead to dropout
A 2022 study on patient expectations in clinical psychiatry confirmed that:
“… most patients have the expectation that therapists will help them through techniques to reduce their symptoms and have disproportionately high expectations regarding the results of psychotherapy…”
This is due to the conventional clinical approach that many mental health practices have taken toward illnesses, where every disorder has a specific solution or tool for curing it. The issue with this is that every patient case is unique and complex, so there’s no “one-size-fits-all” approach to treating illnesses. With that said, if patients think that their treatment is less effective than expected, they’re more likely to drop out of therapy.
Strategy: Manage your patients’ expectations by providing a clear path for their treatment. It’s highly advised that your providers take a patient-centered approach where they actively listen and respond to their patients’ emotions and needs. This provides them with enough context on the patient’s thought process and allows them to decide how they can best guide the patient through their treatment.
Mental health receptionists and staff can also play a role in managing patient expectations not only by guiding them through their treatment plan but also verifying their insurance and helping them with their financing options.
In general, providing affirmation and certainty in your patients can significantly improve patient outcomes.
4. Stigma against mental health influence patient engagement
Mental health stigma continues to be one of the top reasons why victims refuse treatment, as they fear that they will risk their relationships and careers if they become open with their illness.
This is one of the most significant challenges that psychotherapy practices must address. However, much of this responsibility is given to providers. Such an approach has become insufficient — practices must have a holistic approach to ensure that patients feel that they can be helped.
Strategy: Provide a safe and welcoming environment for your patients as soon as they enter one of your clinics. Design your waiting room to be bright, spacious, and open to instill a sense of hospitality. Most importantly, train your entire healthcare team to exude optimism and trust when interacting with patients.
Take A Holistic Approach In Improving Patient Outcomes
Patient outcomes are a multi-faceted aspect of your practice. It requires an overall improvement of every part of your practice to ensure that patients get better at the end of their treatment. Thus, to improve your patient outcomes in the long run, you need to have an extensive evaluation and modification of your operations wherever possible, while having a holistic, patient-centered approach.
One area that can support your practice is your mental health front desk staff, who make sure that there’s always someone available to greet your patients with a smile. Learn how WelcomeWare can enable your mental health clinic receptionists to help improve patient outcomes.
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