With telehealth, Behavioral Nutrition sees many more patients

Posted on April 24, 2022


Behavioral Nutrition is a holistic eating disorder outpatient clinic that treats adolescents and adults using behavioral therapy and nutritional counseling. The clinic has five locations spread out in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Florida, New Jersey and Texas.


THE PROBLEM

The provider organization had four main challenges:

  • The clinical team was looking to provide convenient nutritional support to patients who needed help but were deterred from scheduling a session due to being located several hours from a clinic location.
  • With the onset of COVID-19, the team also needed a way to provide support in a safe, socially distanced manner, ideally enabling patients to receive treatment from the comfort of their own homes.
  • The stigma around being recognized in a waiting room or in the facility of an eating disorder clinic was a challenge for some.
  • Finally, the clinical team partnered with a video platform as it began testing telehealth options, and they found it was not consistent in terms of connectivity. The headquarters facility, for example, is a retrofitted school building from the 1950s and broadband access is not consistent in the property. They needed technology that was consistent and did not require a high bandwidth, while being user-friendly for the staff and patients.

PROPOSAL

For virtual care, Behavioral Nutrition selected the technology from Let's Talk Interactive. The LTI platform sends caregivers and patients a reminder with a link prior to the session.


The platform is "user friendly and professional compared with what we were using before," commented Nicole Romano, founder of Behavioral Nutrition. "How seamless the platform experience is – pay for your copay and immediately get into the session. That was missing from our other platform.


"Let's Talk Interactive's telehealth solution is proven to operate on lower bandwidth – so the platform could easily host secure video sessions with slower internet speeds," she continued. "This solved the connectivity issues our clinicians were experiencing and enabled us to formally offer telehealth sessions on an ongoing basis, allowing our patients to attend sessions from home without any issue."


Staff also liked the professional experience the platform provided. They could brand the experience to have their logo and colors, and have the ability to do much more than just host a video session. They could send and receive secure emails, schedule sessions, accept payment and more.


MARKETPLACE

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MEETING THE CHALLENGE

Behavioral Nutrition's clinicians do not have much time to learn new technology, so the seamless implementation of telehealth technology was important.


"Let's Talk Interactive's telehealth suite is extremely straightforward," Romano said. "Their onboarding team did an amazing job customizing the platform to fit with our workflow and get everything teed up. From there, we hosted virtual training sessions with our clinicians, with each getting unique usernames, learning easy ways to send out session invites, reminders – all of it is extremely user-friendly.


"Our office admin staff appreciated LTI's ability to integrate with Stripe, the system we use to capture copayment," she continued. "The platform is set up to take Stripe copay processing in order for the session to begin, which creates separation and removes the pressure and need for our clinicians and office staff to have to ask for payment from patients."


The platform also interacts with staff calendars, immediately booking a session and including the session link once it is booked and confirmed by the patient.


"The whole scheduling process is very seamless," Romano noted. "We are also able to create custom intake forms, securely send them to patients to complete before their first session, and store them safely in the platform."


Some of the other features staff leverage on a daily basis include: e-documents for signature, patient filing, reporting, custom branding and multiple user roles within the platform.


RESULTS

Behavioral Nutrition has been able to see approximately 50% more patients compared to before telehealth sessions were offered.


"Some of that increase is related to the sheer convenience of telehealth – enabling patients to attend sessions from the comfort of home, and no longer experience no-shows due to weather and traffic," Romano said.


"We have also streamlined some of our administrative processes," she added. "For example, clinicians can complete their patient note-taking during the session while in the telehealth platform. Copayment is taken before the session is started. Scheduling occurs via secure email."


And the organization now is able to offer more treatment options for patients, resulting in a 30% increase in patients due to distance to the facility no longer being an issue.


"We were able to expand our radius of treatment – so where patients might have traveled from 45 minutes away pre-telehealth services, now we're seeing people who live an hour and a half drive away using our services," Romano reported.


"Not to mention patients outside the states we are in, because our clinicians are licensed outside of the state. We were not offering this prior to using Let's Talk Interactive's platform. We're now able to offer this and offer it efficiently."


And the organization has experienced an 80% reduction in no-shows as a result of not having to worry about New England weather conditions, traffic and related scheduling conflicts that come up.


"It can be as simple as someone needs to be ready to make dinner for their family, but the session is at 5 p.m. and they would not be able to be home by 6 p.m.," she said. "Telehealth sessions make this a non-issue; this way, patients can fit treatment into their schedule.


"We are able to track all of these results through the telehealth platform," she continued. "The data is all there in one, secure location. Should we need additional data or support looking into various usage, we are able to work directly with an account manager who immediately supports us in that process."


ADVICE FOR OTHERS

First and foremost, select a telehealth platform that is consistent in its connectivity, Romano advised.


"What kind of broadband access does your facility have? Are you in a rural area? Consider leveraging a platform that does not require high bandwidth and is proven to work well in similar circumstances as yours," she said.


"Second, scope your clinical model and treatment model to allow for future growth and improvements due to telehealth," she continued. "You can often capture so much more in terms of verbal and visual content."



Original Post: https://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/telehealth-behavioral-nutrition-sees-many-more-patients

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