Tips to Support Employee Mental Health

Tag Archives: Behavioral Health

Tips to Support Employee Mental Health

support employee mental health

A huge trend in workplace management has become to find ways to support employee mental health while on the job. Healthcare workers’ mental health has taken quite a toll since the COVID 19 pandemic took the world by storm almost 2 full years ago. They’ve been overworked and sometimes underappreciated, which leads to burnout. It’s not only healthcare workers that are stressed out, though. Workers worldwide, regardless of industry, are suffering the same way. Here are some tips on how to support employee mental health as a manager. Not only will this lead to happier staff members, it will help with employee retention.

Show that you take care of your own mental health

This one may seem like it’s contradictory to the point of employee mental health, but it’s not. If you make it clear that you are going to “take a walk”, or having therapy, or shutting your laptop down early, you are showing that your own mental health is important to you. By doing this, you are giving the staff the impression that they should prioritize their mental health as well. Being a good leader means taking care of the people who you are leading. Part of doing that is leading by example.

Check in on your employees

It is a good idea to ask your staff about their mental health, but it is not necessary to be direct every single time you check in. You can ask “How have you been feeling recently – mentally and emotionally?” but that won’t always help someone. Telling you if they are stressed does not tell you how you can address their needs. To be better, you can ask your staff how you can specifically help them, and what they need or request for them to feel better/happier. There is no need to ask them 5 days a week, but once every couple weeks would make your employees feel appreciated.

Invest in mental health support training

What would support employee mental health even more? Have the senior leaders get training on how they can help staff when they feel overwhelmed or burned out. By doing this, you are creating an environment that shows that you genuinely care for your employees. And we all know, if you take care of your employees, they’ll take care of your company.

Be flexible and accountable to your employees

Another way to support employee mental health is to change policies and be more flexible when it comes to time off, work load, deadlines, etc. Doing this not only will make your staff members happier, it will create a better environment for everyone working. Hold yourself accountable to these changes, and if you feel that you are not doing enough, do something about it. Keeping your employees happy is a great way to ensure work gets done, and that it gets done well.

Providing a mental health friendly work environment

Some companies provide relaxation rooms or a space onsite to do yoga with trained instructors to support employee mental health. Yoga is a great way for people to ease their mind and body. Something else that could be done is to have trained counselors visit on site (or available by virtual access) to teach your employees relaxation skills if they feel overwhelmed. Providing healthy snacks to your workers is also a great way to keep up good moods and avoid negative energy drops that come from eating junk food while working. 

Employee Retention Strategies in Healthcare

Employee retention strategies in healthcare

Employee retention strategies in healthcare are critically important. Healthcare organizations across the nation have seen high employee turnover rates for years. The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the exodus of healthcare workers from the field. Formalize and implement a plan with employee retention strategies in your healthcare agency. Below are some effective strategies that, when implemented organization-wide, can help you retain staff.

Determine Correct Fit in the Hiring Process

Make sure the fit is right for both you and potential employees to increase retention rates.

  • Make sure all new hires fully understand the position you are hiring for. Clarify expectations and potential duties.
  • Be transparent about the culture and work environment of your office.
  • Screen applications for a passion for Healthcare or service. Aligning with your purpose, sharing your values, and feeling like they make a difference helps employees last.

Onboard New Employees Appropriately

Employee retention starts on day one with successful onboarding.

  • Be prepared for a new employee’s first day on the job. Have your employee handbook, benefits package, and paperwork that needs to be completed ready.
  • Be proactive about introducing them to other staff members. Assign mentors or point persons they can ask for help.
  • Share the first lunch with new employees. Help them get to know coworkers and reduce feelings of awkwardness. Help them feel at home by showing them local eateries and your office break room.
  • Implement effective training strategies even when you are busy.

Foster Community with Employee Engagement and Recognition

Having a supportive work environment can increase employee retention.

  • Encourage employees to be social amongst one another. Friends, even if just “work friends” can make a difficult day a lot better.
  • Engage with your less outgoing staff members to help them feel they belong.
  • Set the tone of showing appreciation and offering praise to each other.
  • Celebrate successes together as a team.

Stay Competitive in your Hiring Market

Especially when it is an employee’s market, be as competitive as you can to retain staff.

  • Offer competitive rates of pay for healthcare workers in your area.
  • Consider increasing your benefits packages to keep competitive on healthcare benefits.
  • Offer a wellness program.

Grow Employees and Hold all to the Same Standards

Invest in your staff and protect them from resentments to retain your best employees longer.

  • Understand the goals of your employees in the next 1 year, 3 years and 5 years out. 
  • Provide growth and development opportunities to help your employees meet their goals.
  • Invest in staff growth – even if they one day advance out of your organization. It will encourage them to stay as long as possible. Growth can also encourage employees who have become stagnant to become more engaged.
  • Hold all employees accountable to the same standards and have direct conversations with poor performers. Enact disciplinary procedures or remove them from the organization to keep those who are working hard from becoming resentful and leaving.

Improve your Communication with Staff

To retain staff, you need to keep your finger on the pulse of how they feel.

  • Request honest employee feedback and allow respondents to respond anonymously.
  • Make employee concerns into action items.
  • Make it a point to reach out to your least vocal employees.
  • Conduct stay interviews to better understand why existing employees stay and how they feel about their workplace.
  • Use exit interviews to understand why employees leave and what you can improve.

Head-off Employee Burnout 

Combat staff burnout and compassion fatigue for employee retention of healthcare workers.

  • Provide outlets for stress such as renewal rooms that offer tranquil surroundings
  • Bring instructors in to teach staff meditation techniques or yoga.
  • Provide healthier snack and food options in your office to prevent junk food energy crashes and accompanying poor moods.
  • Make sure you are a trauma informed healthcare agency to protect your staff.
  • Help your team with work/ life balance. Offer coaching and consider ways your work environment can adapt. If possible, offer virtual or co-working opportunities.
  • Provide an EHR that combats digital burnout and alleviates staffing shortages.

Employee retention strategies in healthcare are effective. However, they do require buy-in from the top down. Formalize your strategies and share the plan with all senior leadership. Implement your plan organization-wide. Lowering your healthcare worker turnover rates is possible if you plan for and implement your employee retention strategies 

Major Healthcare Regulations for 2022

Major Healthcare regulations for 2022

As we shift into a new year, major healthcare regulations for 2022 are as well. Standards and practices for Public and Behavioral Health are being modified to keep up with technologies. These are the major healthcare regulations for 2022 that should be monitored by healthcare providers. Lawmakers have continued plans for policy in each of these areas.

Regulations on Payment Models

One of the major healthcare regulations for 2022 that clinicians need to watch out for is the models for payment. In the last few years, a lot of providers were in the mode of transitioning from the traditional “pay for service” model that has been in practice for as long as medical care has existed. Yet, when the pandemic started, that transition slowed down. 

The transition on models of payment slowed down due to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) clearing healthcare providers from the reporting requirements and financial penalties from the Medicare Shared Savings Program and the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System. For 2022, the current leadership at CMS needs to decide whether they need to continue with this process, revert to the original plan (of transitioning), or completely change paths. Continue to check for these changes throughout the year.

Regulations on Telehealth

Another component of the major healthcare regulations for 2022 to keep an eye on is telehealth. While people in urban or suburban areas may not have much of a problem accessing healthcare, people who live in rural areas might. Since a lot of them do not have easy access to a healthcare provider, it is important that they’re given an option to where they can be virtually provided care, if they are unable to physically be at a healthcare facility. Congress is working to pass laws and policies that can benefit people who don’t have easy access to physical healthcare. 2022 seems like a very likely period for Congress to get close to achieving this goal.

Regulations on Data Operability

A third part of the major healthcare regulations for 2022 is data operability. 2 years ago, the final rule was put in place by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) to ensure the requirements of the Cures Act were met and followed. In April 2021, the mandates for information blocking were implemented. This requires all forms of healthcare providers to provide their patients with their data if they request it. Even if a provider is unable to physically provide a patient their data, they are going against the act. 

Throughout 2022 more data operability rules are expected to be implemented. Healthcare providers will have more asked of them in providing and exchanging data, without the difficulty of doing so as an excuse not to. This will cause a push for more providers to have EHRs that can help exchange data and health records more easily.

If you are interested in learning more about Patagonia Health’s ONC certified, complete EHR with billing, practice management, and integrated telehealth solutions please contact us.

Behavioral Health Team Created at Patagonia Health

behavioral health team

Patagonia Health has developed a Behavioral Health team who will help the company better serve their customers with their EHR designed specifically to support Public Health and Behavioral Health agencies. This dedicated team will also help grow and expand the company’s reach further throughout the nation. This new team consists of three very knowledgeable and experienced professionals with over 40 years of combined experience in the Behavioral Health EHR space. 

Behavioral Health Team Members

Jonathan Strange is a proven enterprise healthcare leader with 20+ years working in Behavioral Health as a clinician and providing clinically driven content development to different electronic health record (EHR) platforms, with a dedicated commitment to consumer first methodology. As a clinician, he worked as both a Mental Health therapist in a forensic patient environment as well as a Certified Substance Abuse Counselor at various agencies in New York State. Jonathan then went on to be part of a start up company geared specifically toward providing an EHR solution for Mental Health and Substance Abuse providers. He joins the Patagonia Health Behavioral Health team as Clinical Director.

Darryl Stanford a business executive with 15+ years of experience in Behavioral Healthcare companies that serve consumers with mental health and substance abuse diagnoses. He brings his leadership expertise to the Behavioral Health team in operations, billing, organizational sustainability and growth, and customer success from the National Counseling Group and other small to mid-level Behavioral Health agencies. He joins the Patagonia Health Behavioral team as Director of Development.

Roderic Peay is a billing analyst and former healthcare provider for children with Mental Health disabilities, in both the inpatient and outpatient settings. He brings 10+ years of experience navigating and mastering multiple electronic healthcare record (EHR) software systems. He has also overseen and implemented training programs for new hires on various EHRs. He joins the Patagonia Health Behavioral teams Customer Satisfaction Specialist. 

Patagonia Health is committed to customer satisfaction and patient care. They understand the day-to-day challenges Public Health and Behavioral Health practices face because the Patagonia Health EHR is designed by industry experts. They keep a great relationship with their clients and continue helping them as much as possible by supporting them with a team that’s knowledgeable about their specific work. Patagonia Health also stays committed to delivering quality care to the communities their clients in healthcare serve . Whether it’s Public Health needs or Behavioral Health needs, Patagonia Health offers its best-in-class Support Team. 

About Patagonia Health

Patagonia Health is a living Electronic Health Record (EHR) software designed to meet the complex needs and desired health outcomes of Public and Behavioral Health organizations. Their federally certified, easy-to-learn platform includes integrated practice management and billing software so you get one end-to-end solution. Employee-owned and organically grown, Their mission is to support your business with software and service that allows you to provide your patients with the care they deserve.

Personalization, Configuration and Customization in EHR Design

Personalization, configuration and customization in your EHR

Personalization, configuration and customization in your EHR are sometimes confusing terms to differentiate. They involve different levels of making the EHR software unique to your users, groups of users, or organization. Some levels of these adjustments come as part of the base, out of box, EHR system. Others require source code changes by your vendor which changes the initial product. Understanding these differences can help you get the solution you need.

Personalization

Personalization comes out of the box with a new EHR system. These are settings adjusted by yourself and the vendor during implementation. It is not necessary to change the software source code to set them up, though. Personalization is a feature of the software that allows it to target experiences to users in roles or as individuals. There are two types of personalization:

  • Role-based Personalization groups users together according to their user roles and the access they need. Staff would have specific tools or dashboards available based upon their duties. You outline what functions your staff needs (whether Clinician, scheduler, etc.).  Then your EHR vendor sets up the access and dashboards for them.
  • Individualized Personalization allows users to manipulate parts of their dashboard unique to themselves. With this, a staff member could manipulate the widgets they see or change calendar colors. A patient could prioritize the health information shown in their patient portal.

Configuration

Configuration is also included out of box with a new EHR and does not require core code changes. The vendor configures fields and values as you prefer to help with your workflow. Configuration will happen whether you choose to customize your EHR software or not. These are set up during implementation and also come as part of your out of box EHR purchase. Examples of configurable items include:

  • Email templates
  • Portal forms
  • Reports
  • Security roles
  • Revenue recognition schedules
  • Page layouts
  • Custom fields & objects

Customization

Customization is not a part of the out of box EHR system. Sometimes clients need more changes than possible with personalization and configuration alone. Customization requires changing the source code of the EHR software your organization’s needs. That makes it become custom to you. 

Which Do You Need?

You may or may not need EHR customization. Personalization, configuration and customization in your EHR depends upon your particular needs. Any reputable EHR vendor would be able to do an informational interview and uncover this. Your workflow and process best practices are going to establish that. Personalization and configuration come along with the EHR you purchase. Only customization requires going beyond the out of box EHR to make the product specific to you. Not everyone needs more than the baseline solution.

About Patagonia Health

At Patagonia Health, we build customizations specific to you. However, if we decide to make a source code change and build in new features, we release it to all our subscribers. In this way, all our customers continue to enjoy system updates. Each client we take on in Public Health and Behavioral Health becomes our partner. We set up user groups and continue to evolve our products based upon our client’s needs. We are always focused on the pulse of industry needs in this way. If you would like to learn more about our specific product offerings, please contact us.