Wellness From The Front Desk: Why The Patient Experience Is Important In Mental Health Clinics

Jun 26, 2023 | Blog

For many mental health clinic owners, the responsibility of treating patients falls solely on the therapist — but in truth, patient treatment starts at the front desk.

Mental health clinic receptionists and other front desk staff can play a significant role in improving patient outcomes and retention.

Here’s why:

Why Is The Patient Experience Important In Mental Health Clinics?

A meta-analysis on patient attrition in psychotherapy practices collated numerous studies on early patient withdrawal. Some of the most notable statistics mentioned include:

  • 20-57% of patients dropped treatment after the first session
  • 50% dropped after the third session
  • Collectively, more than 65% end therapy before the 10th session

To identify how to minimize patient attrition, experts identified numerous predictors for why patients may drop treatment. Some of the most well-known factors include patient-provider relationship, quality of care services, and treatment options.

One factor that goes under the radar, however, is the patient experience.

The same study cited Ronald Andersen’s model of health services utilization, which has four clusters of factors that influence patient engagement. The fourth cluster includes the following:

  • Accessibility of care
  • Treatment options
  • Clinical environment

While you can enhance patient services, modify your provider selection, or update your equipment, if patients do not feel accommodated during their visit, they’re more likely to stop seeking treatment.

That’s why the patient experience is vital in mental health clinics. When patients feel welcomed at the front desk, they are more encouraged to return and finish treatment.

Ways You Can Improve The Patient Experience

In mental health clinics, improving the patient experience involves engaging with them consistently and providing a clear path for their treatment.

In general, enhancing the patient experience will involve assessing and modifying various aspects of your clinic.

Here are a few examples of how you can modify your clinic to deliver a better patient experience:

  • Improve the waiting room – Create a welcoming environment for your patients by providing comfortable seating and amenities such as televisions and vending machines to keep them busy while waiting
  • Resolve staffing challenges – Determine if you have enough mental health clinic receptionists to ensure seamless patient intake
  • Minimize administrative work for your providers – Reduce the burden of bureaucratic tasks and allow them to focus only on delivering quality care to their patients
  • Train your staff – Orient your therapists, front desk staff, and other members of your team on how they can best behave and interact with patients to facilitate a positive environment

Most importantly, the key players in improving the patient experience are your mental health clinic receptionists. They’re capable of performing numerous responsibilities and functions to deliver a significant impact on patient satisfaction and retention.

For instance, they can:

  • Reassure patients – They can strike up friendly conversations with patients and reassure them about the therapy to calm them down and make them feel confident about the outcome of the treatment
  • Guide patients through their treatment plan – They can manage patient expectations, verify insurance, and discuss financing options with patients
  • Send text or email reminders – They can reach out to patients via text or email about an upcoming appointment keeps them engaged with their therapy

Leverage Your Front Desk To Enhance Patient Outcomes

Your receptionists, too, can help your patients complete their treatment. Thus, investing resources to enhance the front desk experience is a good step. This will involve training them extensively, assessing your staffing model, improving workflow, and upgrading their equipment to ensure that your front desk is always ready to accommodate every patient.

If you’re experiencing problems with staffing and maintaining your receptionist team, it may be time to take a different front desk strategy. Discover how a live-streaming virtual receptionist platform like WelcomeWare can transform your front desk experience and improve the patient experience of your mental health clinic.

Initiate mental wellness beginning from the front desk

Enable your receptionists with WelcomeWare to always be available to greet your patients

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