Software as a Service (SaaS) for Addiction and Mental Health Treatment
Opportunity lurks wherever there is a need. The Opioid crisis brought with it an expanded opportunity as a service provider, i.e. addiction treatment centers. As more and more treatment centers opened, an opportunity for ancillary support services compounded. Couple this need with the emergence of the EMR in the medical field, with a push by the government and there’s the market.
But, the software conglomerates showed none to a limited interest in Mental Health. Quite frankly, the market was small with limited funding and a lack of standardization in the field kept product development limited. Slowly but surely small SaaS companies began to address the need to take advantage of the opportunity. The initial wave attempted to replicate the medical model, huge upfront build, implementation and training fees followed by high monthly support fees. As the “cloud” emerged SaaS providers began to expand the fees to include storage and server fees.
Over the last several years, however, SaaS companies began to produce subscription based software. EMR software that eliminated big upfront and monthly fees. Then companies like Zencharts began to take charting to a new level. The EHR software emerges on the scene, that is charting coupled with tools to assist clinicians and providers to manage their admin, treatment process, best practices and assist in patient safety protocols.
As the field has expanded coupled with the recent contractions and lower reimbursement rates, the days of high prices and fleecing of the providers enhanced the need for transparent and reasonable pricing. The subscription model is the answer to the needs of the treatment provider.
So what is the subscription model? It is the alleviation of big upfront investments, the fee schedule is reasonable and based upon the user, with a simple implementation process and inclusive customer support, featuring focused customer support, i.e. 24/7 major fixes and normal business hours training support. Why the distinction? Because, 24/7 support is expensive, people are often apt to call support even when it is as easy to click on a help article and learn the process!
Configuration vs Customization
A huge saving for the treatment agencies is the “configuration” process rather than “customization.” “Configuration” allows for the sharing of costs between agencies for varying workflows and needs, rather than an agency footing the entire bill on their own. Configuration takes into account the various workflows and processes and allows the agency to make adjustments in their settings in order to configure their instance for their particular work processes.
We all want the most for the least. Often, people’s belief system is based upon what they believe is the truth. In other words, if you are unaware of the changes in the field it is easy to get frustrated believing that you have purchased a product that is old school. You believe you paid for custom software and not the subscription model. You believe your subscription is a license to summon immediate support. Yes, the last software that you paid $80,000 to install, train and implement also sold you their “Diamond Support” package at $15,000 a month… You see SaaS is a cost-effective and prudent model. If you are interested in an Enterprise version of the software you need to contact your provider, but be prepared for a huge upfront fee and when it is complete after as much as a year it is done, well unless you buy the customer support package!
Obviously, SaaS is the way to go unless you are a hospital system. At ZenCharts, we pride ourselves in building a configurable product that enables the user to utilize their own workflows. We have built in a dashboard in the admin panel that allows a customized feel without the added expense and wait time for the build. We can have your instance up and running in a week!