Managing smarter: A decision support system for mental health providers

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Financing of mental health care has changed radically, especially with managed care. Shrinking revenues have forced providers to look for creative ways in which to provide quality services at less expense. Delivery of quality services depends largely on the productive use of the provider's prime resource—the clinicians. Productivity was the focus of the PC-based decision support system developed for mental health providers in New York State. It enables administrators to track key indicators of productivity such as face-to-face time and non-face-to-face time against goals. Unmet goals can be pinpointed quickly, and clinicians' caseloads can be reviewed to determine the underlying causes. A key feature of the system is the conversion of raw data into actionable information to help in problem finding and problem solving. The system has been implemented in Ulster County, the pilot site for the project. The software can be customized easily to suit the data of other providers.

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