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Serving the needs of individuals struggling with a mental
health disorder requires a certain degree of both empathy as well as an
awareness of federal law. While the mental health provider is in an authority
position, it is essential that the attitude presented to the patient be one of
compassion, treating each patient with the dignity they deserve in the process
of serving him or her. The focus of customer service should be centered on
assisting the patient in securing the services best matched to their mental
This particular patient segment may present unique
challenges in case management, so having a good understanding of best industry
standards can help the provider optimize the level of customer care offered.
The practices to consider might include:
services. The intake process is a
key entry point for the customer service experience. How the patient is treated
during the initial interfacing can leave a significant impact on their overall
treatment experience. Is the clinical team providing a thorough same-day
evaluation of the presenting problem? Does the provider offer same-day access
to services when a patient calls or walks in? Is the intake team treating the
patient with patience and respect while making an effort to provide timely
in data collection. Paperwork during intake can become cumbersome, weighing
down the patient and leading to unnecessary delays in treatment. Has your
practice recently reviewed the information asked of the patient in the various
documents? Are there multiple redundancies? Is the electronic healthcare
records software program being used expedient or outdated?
satisfaction. What procedures are in place to measure patient satisfaction
with your practice? Have you conducted patient surveys? Does your practice
encourage reviews or feedback?
performance. How is staff performance measured? Is patient satisfaction a
factor in determining a staff member’s job performance? Are there timely
performance reviews in place to help employees continue to improve and reach
new performance benchmarks?
of services. Mental healthcare often involves coordination of various
clinical or social services. Is your practice managing the coordination of
these services effectively? Has the practice looked for ways to improve or
streamline this sometimes complex aspect of mental health services?
compliance. Data collection and privacy are of paramount importance across
the healthcare spectrum, but is particularly critical in the mental health
field. Protecting patient data should be a priority, necessitating regular
staff training sessions, clearly articulated policies, and extreme care in data
collection and confidentiality.
record keeping. Accurate and timely documentation requires diligence,
especially with the advent of electronic health records. Proper coding, clearly
articulated note taking, coordination of care notations, and up-to-date patient
demographic information are all essential for maintaining best practices.
Customer service in healthcare has become an important
barometer when a prospective patient, including those seeking mental health
services, is researching service providers. Customer service has become an
intrinsic aspect of branding, creating leaders in the mental health industry
who embrace the challenge of improving customer care practices. Every practice
can find areas that can be tightened up and improved, enhancing the overall