How do you retain high-quality providers? It’s an important goal for any mental health practice. Talented providers who remain committed to your practice elevate the level of care you deliver to clients, and that care drives your reputation and referrals. Providers who are happy at your practice and good at their jobs will see more patients and net more revenue.
Increased provider retention is one of the many potential benefits of electronic health records. Your EHR can play a major role in how satisfied or unsatisfied providers are at your practice. EHRs shape your providers’ daily work, and can either be a help or a hindrance. These sophisticated software solutions give you the ability to see which providers are doing well, and which providers need support—before their struggles lead to burnout and ongoing problems. EHRs that integrate with outcome measures can even help your providers realize better patient results.
For stronger employee retention, choose an EHR that benefits your providers.
The Cost of Provider Turnover
Just as efforts to retain providers can strengthen your practice, high turnover can actively hurt you. When you lose a provider, you must transition their patients to other staff, replace that provider, train their replacement on office procedures and software, and build up the newcomer’s client roster. This can equal a 3-6 month loss in that provider’s productivity from your budget. You also risk losing patients, and those who remain will experience an interruption in the continuity of their care. This can decrease patient satisfaction and hurt your reputation with referral sources.
Identifying Key Features that Help Retain Providers
An EHR can be a major factor in keeping good providers, or driving them away. Because EHRs define so much of the daily workflow, a well-functioning solution can make a provider’s experience at your practice positive, while a clunky or limited-functionality solution can sour them quickly.
What factors matter in retention? Here are a few of the major ones.
Mental health practitioners sandwich many administrative tasks in between treating patients, and they need workflows that make these tasks smooth and quick. Otherwise, they may feel overwhelmed or spend hours outside of appointments playing catch-up. Providers want easy scheduling and coordinating with the front office, simple procedures for initiating bills, an easy way to communicate with clients, and the ability to send documents such as symptom rating scales and homework exercises.
Efficient workflows create better work-life balance, which is important to busy mental health providers with full caseloads.
Customization for the Provider’s Unique Needs
Different providers have different requirements for capturing demographics, creating treatment plans, and formatting their notes. One-size-fits-all templates don’t always work in behavioral health. Practitioners will become frustrated with an inflexible EHR that only allows a narrow range of options.
Ideally, major items like documentation, treatment planning, and reporting will be customizable.
Improved Patient Care
High standards of care are of primary importance to providers. They want an EHR that prioritizes functionalities to support that care. For example:
- Integration of measurement-based care to attain better client results without increasing busywork.
- Easy access to client records for collaboration between multiple providers on a care team.
- Simple procedures for e-prescribing and tracking medication compliance.
- PDMP access to monitor the safety of patient medications.
- Easy, flexible treatment planning, including editable templates.
Documentation is one of the most time-consuming and important aspects of a provider’s work. Make documentation easier, and you will save them frustration and create more time in their day.
Creating documents can be made easier with robust, flexible templates (that are also editable), automation features for things like narrative generation, and integration of outcome measures into patient notes.
When documentation becomes easier, providers can spend less time catching up on note-typing and more time focusing on patients, preparing for the next appointment, generating bills, and other necessary work.
Productivity reports help you increase provider retention by alerting you to providers that may need support. Providers with high turnover rates or low success with a particular diagnosis might benefit from professional development and additional training. Seeing to those needs early can prevent overwhelm and burnout later. On the flip side, you can identify your best workers and encourage them toward leadership and mentorship.
Productivity reporting can also be motivational for ambitious providers who wish to measure their progress, a plus for career-minded practitioners.
The Magic Ingredient: EHR Training and Support to Help Retain Providers
Of course, providers can’t take advantage of an EHR’s many benefits unless they know how to use it. This is where training and support make all the difference. Carefully consider what kind of training will work best for your employees. Do you want to train them on functionality related only to their role? Do they need to be trained on entire processes and workflow paths? Or, do you want to train super-users who know their way around the entire software?
The EHR you choose will hopefully offer ongoing support to your staff, perhaps in the form of training materials, a resource library, or a specific contact within the company’s implementation staff. Seek clarity from any potential EHR provider about what ongoing support for your practice will look like.
Finding the Right EHR for Your Practice
In order to find an EHR that will help you retain providers, start by identifying your practice’s unique needs. Ask providers what functionality is important to them in a behavioral health software system. Ask them about the pain points of their workday, and what kinds of features might alleviate those pain points.
Examples of things that providers might wish to improve include:
- Documentation capabilities
- Group therapy scheduling, notes, and telehealth solutions
- Integrated outcome measures
- Flexible reporting on different metrics
- Telehealth services
Partnering for Success: How Valant’s EHR Supports Providers
Valant software was designed by behavioral health professionals who understand the pain points of a busy practice and want to make the clinician’s job easier. We’ve streamlined our processes to cut down on functionalities that slow providers down, and we’ve built automation for time-consuming tasks like onboarding paperwork, generating bills, auto-generating narratives in clinical notes, and more.
Valant’s all-in-one software creates easy workflows for everything from prospective patient management to the billing cycle. Easy, intuitive, and integrated software also supports simple patient communication, the use of outcome measures, robust telehealth features, and much more. Generate flexible reports on provider productivity and patient results for better decision-making, and even use outcome measures data to chart patient progress, so patients and providers can see the results of their work in black and white.
Valant supports faster work and better outcomes for providers—and help you create the kind of practice providers want to work for.
EHR Implementation: Ensuring a Smooth Transition
If you’re switching EHRs or trying one for the first time, the implementation process can present some challenges. Implementation will work more smoothly if you do the right planning up front: know your budget, plan for data migration, create a timeline for staff training, and coordinate with an implementation specialist at your new EHR company.
Don’t forget the importance of buy-in from your own people. You want the providers and staff at your practice to understand how a new EHR will make their work better. Explain to them the details of how the new software will improve their daily work and better support their goals.
The Right EHR for Your Clinicians
Finding the right EHR can be a winning strategy for provider retention, and can elevate the experience of everyone at your practice.
One of the most important steps in finding the right EHR is to invest time in understanding what your providers need. When you understand their pain points and their goals, you will be better positioned to find a software product that improves their work and their satisfaction with your practice.
Valant offers end-to-end functionality that supports providers in every aspect of their work. Contact Valant today to learn more about how we can improve the clinician experience, and jump-start your retention strategy.