Have you considered implementing care management software into your service as a blended care practitioner?

While no care management app offers all the insight required to replace a real helping professional’s care, they can have many benefits. Often developed by medical specialists themselves, these advanced tools and systems are designed to make greater use of data, leveraging it into solutions that enhance a practitioner’s abilities when treating clients.

A care management program enhances the treatment process, ensures compliance, and makes the day-to-day administrative operations of an organization much easier to complete. Read on to discover whether a care management solution is right for your practice.

What is Care Management?

Care management refers to a range of activities that can improve patient care while lowering the need for medical services; the overarching goal of a care management strategy is[1]:

to assist patients and their support systems in managing medical conditions more effectively.

In the healthcare industry, care management solutions thus help both patients and caretakers with effective management of medical conditions and health issues.[2] We can look at three potential use cases to illustrate:

  1. First, some organizations looking for a care management software solution will be at the start of their search for a suitable virtual care technology. In these cases, new organizations or start-ups will need to use the software to care for patients with specific health issues while still providing proper care management.
  2. In contrast, established providers may already have a wealth of experience with providing care management. They might, however, be using disparate systems, or a care management program that isn’t able to scale as the organization grows.
  3. Finally, a third demographic of helping professionals who have a fee-for-service model may need a system with better performance capabilities that can still fit within their budget.

How Does It Work?

So, how does care management software solve these issues for helping professionals?

Care management systems that are also analytics-driven programs will[3]:

  • Streamline an organization’s workflow
  • Help caring professionals prioritize their daily tasks efficiently, and
  • Offer enhanced, efficient care models to the patients who need it most

Most helping professionals will derive the most benefit from an integrated care management system – one that is inclusive, analytical, and comprehensive.

Specialist Care Management Programs

A care management system is used to manage and track helping professionals’ clients status, progress, and reports. These types of software systems are often used in the following types of helping professions:

  • Social services and agencies
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Mental health providers
  • Hospitals

By itself, “care management system” is a broad term. But in general, this type of medical software is used to track, report, and monitor patients. These systems and tools also assist helping professionals in managing the business side of an organization.

In short, care management software is designed to handle a range of administrative and clinical functions for organizations.

What Do They Look Like?

Systems aren’t designed to be “one size fits all,” either. Instead, care management solutions are designed so that providers can tailor the functions to fit their organization’s and client’s specific needs.

Some of the administrative functions that these systems can handle include:

  • Billing and coding
  • Scheduling
  • Creating notes and records
  • Securely storing documents
  • Retrieving documents
  • Archiving images, and
  • Issuing and managing ePrescriptions

However, this list is hardly exhaustive. Practically any repetitive task can be automated into a workflow with a comprehensive care management program.

Care management programs offer increased quality of care and enhanced organizational efficiency, while helping to protect an organization’s bottom line.

Benefits of Care Management Solutions

Generally, care management programs offer increased quality of care and enhanced organizational efficiency, while helping to protect an organization’s bottom line.

Just as with behavioral health systems, the way these benefits are delivered happens in many ways – let’s consider a comprehensive care management system for an example:

Benefit

Details

Enhancing Efficiency

By automating back-office operations, care management solutions can help streamline administrative tasks. Tasks that can be automated are rarely patient-facing, nor are they related to a professional’s core care-delivery competencies.

More Patient-Practitioner Time

In this way, automating non-essential capabilities can free up healthcare professionals to spend more time with their patients.

Lowering Overheads

On a larger scale, using AI to handle repetitive administrative tasks may help organizations cut down on overheads, since they won’t have to hire full-time staff to manage these back-office tasks.

Reducing Errors

Mistakes and documentation errors can be reduced with care management software. Some clear examples include more organized claims submission and document standardization.

Keeping Practitioners Informed

Care management systems also provide helping professionals with automated alerts. These notifications can inform professionals of any potential issues and risks with their patients.

Greater Patient Convenience

On the patient side of things, automatic reminders also help clients remember appointments, potentially improving their health and protecting their treatment progress.

While these may be general and broad benefits that the average care management system provides, specific programs can offer certain advantages as well.

For example, care management programs that include Electronic Health Records (EHR) capabilities can help care providers get easy access to vital patient records and documents.

Documents that are managed via a software solution are always legible, unlike handwritten notes. These systems also automatically alert professionals to medication interactions or contraindications.

9 Common Application Features

How far have we come, then, when we consider care management technology from a blended care perspective?

In the table below, we take a quick look at nine of the most common features that can be found in today’s most popular care management software.

Care Management Software

Details

Electronic Medical Records and Electronic Health Records

(EMR and EHR)

EHR or EMR software solutions help caring professionals create and securely store electronic patient records. These systems are compliant with legal regulations and requirements for data security.[4] The systems can also enable authorized access so other clinicians can view the files.

With many care management systems, Electronic Medical Records (EMR) or EHR solutions come with tracking abilities for patient notes, medical histories, and prescriptions. Standard features with EMR and EHR care management software include:

  • Document templates
  • Coding databases, and
  • Additional voice recognition software.

Medical Billing and Coding

Helping professionals can use case management solutions to make billing and coding easier and more efficient. These software solutions allow helping professionals to create and submit patient statements and claims.

Common functions of this type of software include

  • Claim tracking
  • Scrubbing
  • Searchable coding databases
  • Reporting capabilities, and
  • Payment posting functions.

Scheduling Functions

With these functions, helping professionals can completely automate the scheduling process. Scheduling mishaps can cause headaches for both organizations and patients.

But care management software that includes scheduling interfaces will reduce the incidences of

  • No-shows
  • Last-minute cancellations, and
  • Double-booking.

Patients can get automatic appointment confirmations and texts, phone calls, or email reminders for more convenient appointments.

Imaging and Radiology

More robust care management systems offer organizations the ability to automate the workflows for radiology or imaging centers. Data is stored, distributed, and manipulated within the secure network.

Many systems also come with picture archiving capabilities that allow organizations to secure images and retrieve them as-needed, safely.

Accounting

These functions automate accounting procedures for the helping professions.

Systems often include:

  • Financial reporting capabilities
  • Payment portals
  • General ledgers
  • Payment record functionalities, and more.

Clinic Management

With these capabilities, users can combine both practice management systems with EMR programs.

These capabilities make it possible for organizations to handle both the business and clinical sides of a helping organization.

ePrescriptions

Many care-management software programs come with the ability to:

  • Create
  • Document
  • Send, and
  • Print prescriptions.

ePrescribing functions are usually an add-on feature with care management software.

Analytics

Analytic capabilities can increase business success, and help clinicians find new markets to serve.

With these functions, helping professionals can track:

  • Patient intakes
  • Revenue cycles, and
  • Reimbursements.

Patient Engagement Capabilities

These functions help caring professionals communicate with their patients outside of appointment times.

This can enhance trust between patients and clinicians, improving relationships, treatment plans, and continuity of care.

Using Care Management Systems In Your Practice

Automation can replace many repetitive tasks that historically, a human completed. But even the most comprehensive and beneficial care management tool won’t replace a helping professional.[5]

Helping professionals are highly educated, insightful specialists who know how to find solutions for clients. In many cases, the solutions they find fix a problem the client didn’t even think was possible to solve.

A Closer Look

For example, a helping professional could have seen a hundred patients with similar characteristics and criteria to their current client.

  • The professional’s first solution was used for fifty patients.
  • The second solution was used for another thirty patients.
  • The third solution was used for the remaining twenty patients that the helping professional had previously seen.

In this scenario, determining which solution will work for the current patient can be difficult for a human being to decide. They don’t have the capabilities of accessing and leveraging complex data, but an app can.

In this situation, a care management app could find that the second solution would have the best outcome for the current patient based on their demographics juxtaposed against previously collected data.

With care management systems, the software helps telemedicine and teletherapy providers make decisions based on real, accurate data on patient populations.

With care management systems, the software helps telemedicine and teletherapy providers make decisions based on real, accurate data on patient populations.

In these instances, helping professionals can deliver better care for their clients, where the decision is based on actual, tangible evidence.

It’s impossible for a human being to gather this data and gain the insight needed. Care management systems enhance the treatment process and give patients a better chance of finding a solution that will work the first time it’s deployed.

Understanding Software Inclusivity

The best care management software systems take advantage of a range of data sources. In this way, groups of helping professionals can communicate, automate tasks, and manage patient care as a well-informed team.

When several software systems and helping professionals work together under a single organization, data sources and patient treatment protocols become more complex.

  • For helping professionals who are part of a larger organization, it’s best to find care management software that is exceptionally robust and inclusive. A standalone EMR system won’t meet the organization’s or the patient’s needs.
  • Smaller organizations or solo practices can find an independent solution. If the organization’s needs grow, many software vendors have systems in place where they can add-on features and functions.

Can You Benefit from Care Management Software?

Choosing the right care management app or software suite can be overwhelming. There are many options on the market, and their features, functions, and capabilities all vary.

When choosing the right solution for your practice, it’s vital to consider what type of buyer you are.

Determining your needs as a helping professional can narrow down your choices and make it easier to find a care management system that will meet your requirements. Most helping organizations will start evaluating care management solutions for the following 4 reasons.

1. Going Paperless

Practices that are using traditional, paper-based filing systems often find themselves buried in paperwork. Using regular paper documents also creates an inconvenient, two-step system for filing. Initially, a paper document is created. But then staff have to digitize the record.

Helping professionals who want to reduce the inconveniences found with paper documentation can significantly benefit from digital care management solutions.

2. New Software Needs

Technology evolves rapidly. What was once a cutting-edge system five years ago may have already become outdated. Sometimes, older software systems are inefficient and hard to update and maintain.

Switching to new software can improve office efficiency while making sure ab organization is compliant with new regulations and requirements.

3. More Integration

Another issue that faces many helping professionals who want a care management system is that their current applications are disparate and inefficient. It’s challenging to keep an office running smoothly when it’s using several different software systems that do not communicate with each other.

In these instances, providers may need to look into getting a fully integrated suite that handles a range of capabilities all within one software system.

4. Newly Established Providers

Many newly established providers will only need a standalone application for care management. That could be from a vendor that supplies billing options, scheduling apps, or EMR systems as single solutions. Either way, helping professionals can find software programs that are designed specially to fit smaller needs.

Another consideration when choosing a care management software solution is to find one that is compatible with the needs of either an outpatient or inpatient provider.

These different organizations have certain functionality requirements that should weigh into the decision to signup with a specific vendor.

Final Thoughts

Care management software solutions can drive an organization’s success while enabling helping professionals to deliver better care. Care management software makes it easier for patients to comply with treatment plans and schedule and attend appointments.

For helping professionals such as teletherapists, telepsychiatrists, and online GPs, a care management app is ideal for gathering valuable data on patient populations and can give them insight into the best solution for their patients. Organizations can also cut down on administrative tasks and, instead, spend more time serving clients.

Have you considered implementing care management software for your helping organization? If not, what are your thoughts on this specialist software? Please share your insights and experiences in the comments.

References

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