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The Top 5 Technology Trends for Behavioral Health and Human Services to Watch For in 2019

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Like many other industries, technology is revolutionizing behavioral health. Ideally, it should support and enhance clinical care for patients while providing real-time behavioral and psychological care for staff providing treatment.

To help you navigate the next year of behavioral health technology trends and changes, our product managers and business analysts share which trends they think will emerge in 2019 – and beyond:

#1: Artificial Intelligence Will Drive Cleaner Data Capture
Kyle Woodruff, Sr. Product Manager

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the next big thing in health IT and it’s ready to make an impact.  We are starting to see AI make its mark already; IBM’s Watson is a great example. AI is going to allow more data to be captured faster than ever before, accomplish repetitive tasks, and process predictable outcomes that will help clinicians get time back in their day. With the introduction of AI and its ability to capture data cleanly and more efficiently, it’s quickly becoming something we can’t live without. As time goes on, we are going to see AI get even more up close and personal as newer interfaces for AI emerge. Using AI to capture data and as virtual assistants is only the beginning, wait until you see what tomorrow brings.

#2: Enabling a More Mobile Workforce Will Help Increase Productivity and Efficiency
Matt Banyai, Business Systems Analyst

Most employees these days do not need to be “inside” an office to get their work accomplished accurately and efficiently. The mobile era has provided individuals the ability to use mobile devices to accomplish many work activities at a highly productive rate. Bring Your Own Device or “BYOD” is becoming more widespread throughout businesses as it allows employees to use their own devices for all work-related activities, such as meeting with clients at their locations for added convenience. This builds a better community feel and removes barriers of meeting with the client for services. Enabling a more mobile workforce promotes a more flexible, technology-driven and familiar environment to the users. As long as a smartphone, tablet or laptop are available for use, the mobile workforce will continue to grow and outperform desktop usage.

#3 Development Disability Programs Will Move off Paper and to EHRs
Tom Liccardi, Product Manager

Changing from a paper-based world to a digital infrastructure can be an agency culture change and will require champions. Paper charts and paper tracking has been the medium of choice for documenting client information in the I/DD world. Searching paper records can be an impossible task and the writing is often illegible causing inaccuracy and confusion. The primary goal is to both serve the client and reduce the staff’s burden of collecting data. Switching to an EHR will reduce this burden and allow for the ability to search, understand, and trend those data elements important to you and your business.

#4 Client Engagement Will be Key to Fighting the Opioid Crisis
Tom Liccardi, Product Manager

The opioid crisis is a widespread epidemic impacting all forms of human classifications. The early stages of a client’s recovery are critical. Because there is a high demand for services, clients often have to wait to be admitted into treatment.  During this waiting period, it’s not uncommon for a client to disengage in the path of treatment.  Another contributor to early client disengagement in treatment is the lack of connection and staff being unavailable.  It has been found that clients who participate in some form of engagement tool, such as a patient portal, will have high levels of treatment satisfaction.  By engaging with clients outside of the traditional treatment model and teaching critical engagement strategies, agencies will develop better communication and trust with clients. Clients who are more engaged with their treatment tend to manage their condition better.  Lastly, agencies who improve client engagement through extra therapeutic factors have better treatment outcomes.

#5 Taking a Data-Driven Approach to Value-Based Care
Sheri Brown, Business Systems Analyst

Value-based healthcare strives to improve population health, increase patient satisfaction and reduce cost. Value-based programs, in turn, reward healthcare providers with incentive payments when they demonstrate the quality of the care they give. The question is, how can you demonstrate something as nebulous as ‘quality’?  The best way to demonstrate this is with solid data. Good data shows you what is currently happening, exposes gaps, helps you predict what is likely to happen in the future based on that information, and then take action.  As time passes and you continue gathering data on those actions you take, you will see the direct impact (positive or negative) of those actions and can continuously recalibrate and improve quality of care.