If you seek grants to further the work of your behavioral health practice or research initiative, you likely spend time contemplating what will excite grantmakers about your cause. What will motivate them to pick you for an award?
This is where measurement-based care becomes important for behavioral health grant writing. It can strengthen your grant application and increase your chances of securing the funds.
Grantmakers gift large sums of money and are thus very interested in seeing a good return on their investment. When an organization receives your application and considers your potential ROI, they look for two vital pieces of information:
- What is the scope of the impact you’ll have thanks to their money? In other words, will you be a good steward of every penny, using the money wisely and efficiently? How many lives will you influence with the help of their grant?
- Do you have data to back up the claims of your good work?
Measurement-based care is perfectly suited to answer those questions, and you can use this to your advantage to win and renew more grants.
The Power of Outcomes Data in Behavioral Health Grant Writing
If your grantmaker is contributing to the field of behavioral health, they likely care about how your practice, organization, or program is impacting patients’ lives. This could include reducing your patients’ distressing symptoms, improving their quality of life, addressing specific stressors within the population you serve, and other factors. The granting organization probably cares less about how their money impacts your day-to-day life as a clinician or practice manager, so you’ll want to focus on what patients experience.
Measurement-based care gives you an unbiased assessment of patient progress at your practice. It shows the improvement of symptoms over time, which tells your grantmaker how well and how quickly your clinicians improve a patient’s quality of life. You can point to specific types of interventions that are showing real-world effects on a significant number of your clients. You can also illustrate outcomes for specific types of diagnoses treated at your practice. Some granting organizations may show interest in a certain set of behavioral health disorders, so being able to isolate data on those patients will strengthen your funding request.
The Right EHR: A Magic Bullet
The easiest way to get exactly the data you need is to use an EHR system that is built specifically for measurement-based care within behavioral health. EHRs like Valant can help you break down the data your granting organizations want to see:
- How long the average client has been in treatment.
- How many clients have successfully completed the treatment journey and achieved partial or total remission of symptoms.
- The number of patients with a specific diagnosis treated at your practice.
- Provider productivity. The Service Unit Summary within the Billing section of Valant’s Report Center shows whether each provider is hitting their productivity goals. This is an important measure to communicate to your granting organizations if their funds cover salaries and operational expenses for your clinicians.
- Provider productivity trends over time. The productivity reporting feature helps you assess productivity trends and how they relates to revenue and budget. If productivity is trending upward, that will impress your grantmakers and help you project confidence in your financial outlook.
Not only can the right EHR help you generate this data, but it can automate the process. For example, Valant is designed in way that allows outcome measures to be assigned electronically during intake, scores the measures automatically, and shows the data in variety of ways, giving practices trend data at the client, provider, facility, and practice levels.
Best Practices for Using Measurement-Based Care to Win Behavioral Health Grants
Keep these strategies in mind as you pull data on patient outcomes and draft your next grant.
- Keep it simple. While you always want to follow the instructions of any grant request, keep your focus on the main two points: the scope of impact you’ll have on patients’ lives, and the data you have to prove it. Keep your request straightforward.
- Be proactive. Some granting organizations knows exactly what they want in terms of data. Other organizations may not be aware of the types of data you’re capable of gathering with measurement-based care. When you proactively bring outcomes data to the table, you establish your reputation as a capable authority on patient recovery and set yourself apart in the mind of your grantmaker. And because measurement-base care provides you with an ever-growing database of outcomes, it should be possible to send two or three updates per year (assuming a 12-month grant period) to stay on your grantmaker’s radar and show them that the goals they care about are continually being met. This gives you an edge in winning grants over behavioral health groups that don’t use measurement-based care.
- Create custom reports to fit your grantmaker’s parameters. If the granting organization has a specific diagnosis or area of behavioral health they’re interested in, or a particular demographic of patients they want their grant to help, a customized report on those parameters can help make a strong case better than aggregated data about overall practice results. Within Valant’s EHR, you can customize reports according to a variety of patient demographics and diagnostic classifications.
- Expedite the grant-writing process. Pulling customized reports and finding black-and-white data should make the process of writing grants easier. Everything that you need to communicate in order to show your value is already there. It will also help when attempting to renew grants, because you can report direct data on every parameter that you promised to address when you made the initial request. This makes the likelihood of renewal that much greater.
Take Advantage of Valant’s Functionality
Many of these best practices are easier when you have an EHR that integrates smoothly with the day-to-day work of your practice. Generalist EHRs often fall far short of this when it comes to behavioral health needs.
Contact us today for a demo to find out how Valant can make your data gathering and reporting easier, and smooth the way for a successful grant application process.