September 21, 2022
Building on the momentum of surging telehealth adoption in behavioral health care during the pandemic, leading behavioral health companies are now leveraging technology to re-imagine the future of care. Not only does technology help make care more accessible to more patients, these leaders are discovering that technology can help extend care beyond the limits of session-based direct care, engaging patients in impactful ways throughout their care journey. By bundling these services into a subscription-based model, behavioral health companies can lay a strong foundation for more transparent and more productive relationships with patients that benefits all parties: behavioral health companies, providers and administrative staff, and most importantly, patients themselves.
Sometimes referred to as concierge medicine or direct primary care (DPC), subscription-based services in medical care are growing at an estimated 5.9% CAGR per year. (Emergen Research) Subscription-based services offer behavioral health companies an innovative, new digital revenue stream that can increase quality of care while also growing the business.
Driven by consumerization of healthcare and the recent, rapid adoption of telehealth, a subscription-based approach collects regular payments from patients in exchange for access to a defined set of features or programs. This might include a set number of virtual or in-person therapy sessions, access to secure instant messaging with providers and administrative staff, or content sharing to support skills development and learning between sessions. Companies can offer patients greater value and choice by combining a variety of lower-cost programs with higher-cost direct care. By grouping these touch points together and billing for them in one bill on a regular basis, companies can streamline billing, reduce demand on provider time, and create more predictable, recurring revenue that fuels business growth.
Providers can benefit from subscription-based approaches, too. By creating opportunities to engage more frequently with patients in less-intensive but still supportive ways outside of therapy sessions, subscription-based models free providers to focus on quality of care instead of on administrative tasks like billing time. Reducing the administrative burden on provider and administrative staff can dramatically impact provider burnout: 60% of physicians surveyed by Medscape rank having too many administrative tasks as the number one factor most likely to contribute to burnout.
With a subscription-based approach, providers and staff can more easily encourage patients to practice skills, complete homework, and enrich their learnings. Offering additional patient touch points can increase compliance and completion rates because patients are consistently connected to their providers. When engagement and compliance increase, so does provider satisfaction and experience, which can impact employee morale as well as recruiting and retention.
Shaped by compelling and convenient digital experiences in the retail world with companies like Amazon and Netflix, and driven by concerns of costs and quality, patients have been the primary driving force in healthcare consumerization. In one recent survey, 78% of patients agreed that it’s important that they be able to engage with healthcare systems and providers on their preferred channels. Flexibility is crucial, as 74% said their preferred channel varies depending on the context of the support issue. (Talkdesk) In another survey, 58% of patients indicate that they consider text/chat access supplemental, and 38% indicate that supportive features that help between sessions are very important. (MDLive)
Subscription-based services for behavioral healthcare meet patients where they are, powerfully combining the convenience of choice and access with the convenience and transparency of one predictable, recurring fee. When it’s easy for patients to engage whenever they need support, and they can do so without concern for mounting costs with each interaction, they are more likely to comply with the program and complete it, which increases both patient engagement and satisfaction.
Telehealth software for behavioral health such as the OnCall platform can help you implement and manage subscription-based services that improve outcomes and grow your business, evolving your care delivery and deepening patient relationships over time. With OnCall, you can easily set up and manage subscription-based services that are fully integrated with the OnCall platform, making it easy for providers, staff, and patients to access and manage. Once configured, administrators can self-manage subscription-based programs, see all payments, and analyze program revenue to optimize delivery and profitability. Providers and staff can easily see plan details on an individual level, including which plans a patient is subscribed to, the cost, the start and end dates, and the billing dates. Patients can easily review their program and fees, and conveniently access the care they need without worrying about individual fees for services. Subscription-based services provide an innovative and easy way to evolve care delivery beyond session-based direct care, improving outcomes for your patients, providers, and business.