Why Post Treatment Outcome Data May Be Most Important
As an addiction treatment facility, you collect a lot of data on your patients from the moment they are admitted to the moment they leave your care. From intake assessments to discharge planning, you likely use multiple tools to assess patients.
But you may be missing the most important data: information about long-term patient outcomes. Post-treatment outcome data can be hard to collect, but is vital to ensuring that your care is working and having a positive effective on your patients’ lives.
Furthermore, this outcome data can be used in negotiations with insurance companies to increase reimbursement rates. Insurance companies want to know that they are getting what they pay for and that their patients are achieving and maintaining sobriety long after they leave your care. They can use post-treatment outcomes data to connect medical and behavioral outcomes and show that your care prevented more expensive treatment, such as emergency department visits, in the future.
What Post-Treatment Outcome Data You Should Collect
You can collect a large amount of post-treatment outcome data to prove that your patients have achieved better physical and mental health. If you are collecting outcomes data, you should gather information such as:
Has your patient gone to the emergency department since leaving your care?
Is your patient gainfully employed?
Does your patient have stable housing?
Is your patient participating in any outpatient or continuing treatment such as alumni groups?
Is your patient sticking to recommended follow-up care?
These data points show both the health and financial benefits of your care. If possible, you should collect this data one, three, and six months after treatment and then on a yearly basis.
How to Collect Patient Outcomes Data
It can be difficult to keep up with patients, especially those who relapse, after they leave treatment. Patients may not have time for mail-in surveys, reliable access to the Internet for online surveys, or an in-service phone number for check-ins.
The best way to collect this data is to try to keep in touch in person. Your facility may sponsor an alumni group for continued support and communication. It will be easier to gather data individually from patients at these group events while helping them find community resources for long-term abstinence. Depending on the structure of your alumni group, you may also be able to bill for these services.
You may also be able to keep in touch via telehealth services. Scheduling telehealth appointments or using secure apps to keep in contact with patients can help you stay in touch with even patients who live far from your facility or have work schedules that prevent them from visiting you in person. In some states, you may be able to bill for these telehealth follow-up services.
At Datapro billing, we help you negotiate with insurance companies and use your outcomes data to your financial advantage. Contact us to learn how to build better relationships with insurers and ensure you are billing for the right services