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As practices expand to accommodate more providers, it becomes more important to standardize operations. Without standardization, managing a larger practice can quickly become an unruly, inefficient process. Worse yet, it could lead to inconsistent patient care. When your practice scales to 20 providers or more, it’s imperative to establish uniformity in four key areas: reporting, technology usage, workflow, and goal prioritization. Implementing this standardization may be easier than you think with the right EHR features.

1. Standardized reporting

Standardized reporting in large behavioral health practices leads to better business decisions by giving you reliable data to work from. You don’t want to guess what’s working and what needs improvement at your practice. You need reliable, standardized information across all providers (and locations, if applicable).

Standardized reporting can help you monitor important KPIs like:

  • Provider productivity
  • Client retention
  • Revenue per CPT code by payer
  • Appointments scheduled
  • Average wait times
  • Revenue sources and expenditure patterns
  • Patient outcomes

Data on these KPIs can tell you so much about your practice: which providers, treatments, and patient types are realizing the best outcomes; how your patients experience their time with you; which providers are netting your practice the most revenue; the state of your practice’s cash flow; whether you’re receiving timely reimbursement, and from which payers; and so much more.

To standardize reporting procedures and formats, you’ll want to:

  1. Define goals and metrics. Decide which KPIs are most important to your business growth, and prioritize creating and pulling reports around those items first.
  2. Consider creating custom reports. If you want to track items that aren’t represented on traditional reporting forms, you may be able to generate customized reports that include them. Report customization is one of the EHR features to look for when considering which software solution is best for your practice.
  3. Make it visual. Data visualization tools make it easier to see the big picture by giving you at-a-glance understandings of overall data trends.
  4. Do it regularly. Run reports at regular intervals and compare the results over time.
  5. Pull data directly from the EHR if possible. Running reports from an all-in-one EHR is ideal.

2. Standardize tool/technology usage: EHR features and beyond

A large practice needs interoperability and compatibility among its software systems. Standardizing technology systems can make all the difference to the efficiency of your workflow, the patient experience, the ease of training new staff, and your practice’s capacity to grow profits. Intake, scheduling, billing, patient portal functions, clinical reporting, and other basic functions of your practice should work the same across all providers, staff, and locations. Variations in these procedures can not only slow down your work and cause confusion, they can cause patients confusion and lower their perception of your practice’s professionalism and competence.

How do you standardize the use of EHR features and processes, telehealth platforms, and other technology?

  1. Consult the people who will use it. Your employees know the requirements and challenges of their daily tasks better than anyone, so take advantage of their expertise to learn what capabilities your practice needs in a software system. Yes, sometimes workflows must change in the name of efficiency, but even if you’re seeking a different and better workflow, your staff’s insight into the job should still be a major factor in technology selection. Patients, too, likely have opinions and how they want and need to interact with your practice. Learn about your patients’ experience with the patient portal, scheduling, intake, and billing/payments.
  2. Consider integration between software tools. The more tools you use, the more effort it takes to ensure up-to-date data and uniform processes across systems. Some all-in-one EHRs provide every software function a behavioral health clinic needs with easy integration, eliminating much of the leg work of standardization.
  3. Look for software providers who offer standardized training. Simply giving all employees the same tools isn’t enough. Everyone at your practice needs to be on the same page regarding how the tools will be used. Centralized training from a software provider is one easy way to accomplish that.


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3. Standardizing Administrative and Clinical Workflows with the Right EHR Features

Standardizing administrative and clinical workflows can optimize your practice operations, leading to more efficiency, more money, and bandwidth for more patients.

For example, laying out clear billing processes directly affects your revenue, because it influences how well you track unpaid claims and how efficiently you collect payment from patients. Requesting that providers submit outcome measures gives you a way to monitor patient outcomes, which may affect your reimbursement rate, and provider productivity, which holds crucial implications for the health of your practice. Some aspects of your workday, such as hosting telehealth sessions have implications for patient data security and require adherence to certain standards for safety.

Even small tasks like scheduling appointments can have an outsized impact on your practice if not standardized. When providers and staff don’t have a set method for taking down appointments, double-booking and confusion easily ensue, tying up employees’ valuable time and creating a negative experience for affected patients. Many other patient-facing processes, like intake and patient portal navigation, also help define the patient experience and should therefore be handled in a uniform way across the practice.

4. Standardized Goals and Priorities

Hopefully, you have a clear mission or vision for the practice to guide your goals. But even a stellar mission statement may remain pie-in-the-sky thinking without specific goals to help you get there. And, because goals should be measurable, you’ll have to decide how they will be measured, and keep that process consistent.

For example, you might aim to increase the practice’s client load by a certain number, or reach a certain threshold of client retention, or improve cash flow by a stated percentage. You can then track specific KPIs that will indicate how well you’re following your mission statement. Reporting on KPIs can be useful for provider and staff buy-in of your goals, as it empowers you to offer incentives for better outcomes and gives providers and staff a real-time sense of the value of their work.

Remember that whatever goals you choose, you need a way to track them, and this may be influenced by the kind of reporting software you own.


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The Right Tools for the Job

By standardizing reporting, technology utilization, workflows, and goals, your practice can grow and make better business decisions while easily maintaining a high standard of patient care across providers and locations. In fact, embracing standardized processes in behavioral health clinics is becoming a necessity rather than a mere recommendation.

Don’t wait until you’re overwhelmed by the complications of a larger practice to seek help through standardization. Look into technology partners like Valant, an EHR that features an all-in-one software solution, for insight on how easy the process can be.

Contact Valant today to set up a demo.


Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Admin. – Quality Measures for Certified Community BH:

American Psychiatric Assoc. – Guidelines for Telehealth:

Healthcare Information and Managament Systems Society – Redesigning and automating healthcare workflows: