Concern Group improves access to talking therapies for thousands of clients a year with online community and automated appointment management
Choice. Control. Community. To support more people affected by mental health issues, Concern Group needs to offer flexible and accessible services to help clients overcome their challenges and enjoy life. “Our main focus is to improve the mental health and wellbeing of the people we serve, remove the stigma around mental health and get people talking,” said John Slator, Head of IT and Informatics at Concern Group.
The group is made up of two organisations, treating more than 40,000 clients between them every year. Mental Health Concern provides a wide range of specialist services such as challenging behavioural issues and helping people with complex mental health issues to take up tenancies in the community, and Insight Healthcare offers talking therapies for those living with common health issues such as depression, or going through life-changing events such as marriage breakdowns or bereavement.
To improve clinical outcomes, Concern Group realised it needed to free up staff from paper-based administration tasks and time spent travelling from appointments back to the office, so they can focus on client care. “We don’t want to just offer adequate services to our clients, we want to over-achieve,” said Slator. “After researching ways to improve client care, our main driver is to have client information at our fingertips, whether we’re at the office, on the road, or sitting with a client.”
The group decided to pioneer its digital transformation with Insight Healthcare, which works closely with the NHS and therefore must comply with strict data protection regulations while being able to provide transparency and accountability at every step in the care process.
“With 420 staff serving the whole of the UK and travelling between offices and community venues, we needed a cloud solution that would work for us,” said Slator. “As a charity, IT is a big expense, and we need executive-level buy in, and that’s where Salesforce.org really stepped up to the plate. We knew that Salesforce supported us on our journey and wanted to us succeed – not just with our Salesforce implementation, but on our mission to bring mental health services to the people who need them.”
Unlocking deeper insights
Today, when a client calls Insight Healthcare, they enter a customised application built on Sales Cloud that tracks their journey from first contact, through therapy, and all the way to discharge. Each client has a mental health score that indicates how effective treatment has been and whether Insight Healthcare is meeting NHS deadlines for appointments.
With such sensitive data being held on clients, the organisation needs the data to be secure and to have total transparency over who has accessed it. To do this, it uses Salesforce Shield, which provides a comprehensive log of any changes made to data, by which user and when. “We have an obligation to our clients to keep their data safe and confidential,” said Slator. “Everyone has a right to privacy.”
Comprehensive records are crucial for delivering services, but with Salesforce clinicians have the client histories to hand to enable them to focus on giving care. Using Salesforce on their mobiles, they can find out who their next patient is and prepare for the session.
“Our clinicians are often in places with restricted WiFi, like doctors’ surgeries, which means they can’t check client details on their laptops,” said Slator. “With Salesforce on their phones, they have access to that information anytime, anywhere.”
When the appointment is complete, the clinician can update the client record securely without having to travel back to an office. “This is not just a huge time saving, but also saves on travel expenses claimed back from us,” says Slator. “People used to travel 600 to 900 miles a month just going back to the office to enter paper-based notes and forms onto our legacy system. Now travel time is down, and admin time is down. We’ve given clinicians around three hours a day back, and that’s more time they can spend helping clients.”
Next generation services
With limited resources and high demand for services, Insight Healthcare is also leveraging Salesforce to make appointment management more efficient. “Around 16% of appointments are missed every month. We realised that with a calendar app we could automate appointment handling, and match last minute cancellations with people desperately seeking an appointment,” said Slator.
The app uses geolocation technology to match therapist availability with client requirements within a set radius. This not only cuts waiting lists and ensures people can access therapy as quickly as possible, but also makes the best use of clinicians’ time. “We created an app with a partner, and it was one of the fastest software deployments I’ve ever seen,” said Slator. “Force.com was easy to use and impressive, and we had an app that ticked all our boxes in no time.”
The app is not the only way the organisation is using Salesforce to tackle waiting times. A website based on Community Cloud provides people waiting for therapy with access to self-help articles and workbooks, and enables them to meet their practitioner online ahead of their first appointment. They can also make and rearrange appointments quickly and easily, which reduces stress and anxiety for people who may already be struggling to cope.
Finally, the organisation uses Desk.com to provide internal support for its app and Salesforce environment.
A brighter future
With Salesforce, Insight Healthcare has cut out manual processes and increased efficiency. “We’ve seen a big boost in morale – our clinicians feel that they can focus on care instead of admin, and the quality of care is vital to our reputation,” said Slator.
The rate of clients not attending appointments has fallen to less than 5%, meaning more people are getting the support they need, plus the organisation is exceeding its referral target by 10%. Salesforce APIs also integrate with NHS middleware to allow medical records to travel securely with patients as they visit different healthcare providers, offering a more joined up, safer client experience.
“With Salesforce, we can revolutionise the face of mental health care. We’re looking into offering live videoconferencing counselling sessions for clients and we know that Salesforce will support us as we continue to innovate,” said Slator.
Salesforce has been so successful at Insight Healthcare, the group has plans to digitise its sister organisation Mental Health Concern. “At the moment we have staff who have to completely rewrite paper patient notes if they need to change or update them. That’s just one of the processes we’ll be bringing into Salesforce to save everyone a huge amount of time,” said Slator.
“With Salesforce, we can put our clients in the driver’s seat and start to tailor care packages around their best interests, making mental health care more accessible for everyone.”