How Does Optimizing Agency Operations Reduce Staff Churn?

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Therapist taking notes

In the United States, the overall average staff churn rate hit about 57.3 percent from 2019 to 2020. However, a study further shows that the average turnover rate in behavioral health (mental health) falls between 30 percent to 50 percent every year [1]. Without a doubt, that percentage is significantly high for mental health practice.

In reducing staff churn, mental health organizations may need to work on optimizing agency operations. Besides reducing staff churn, optimizing agency operations have various benefits in mental health practice. Here are some to note:

1.    Improves Agency Productivity

One of the significant challenges facing the mental healthcare system is the productivity or efficiency of staff. Lack of productivity or efficiency typically increases staff churn rates in most mental health organizations.

Many times, staff productivity highly depends on organizational support and the effectiveness of the programs they handle. Without considering those factors, it becomes difficult to define a staff’s efficiency or productivity.

Organizational support may prove helpful, especially with an enabling environment. However, optimizing agency operations may also improve overall agency productivity. With time, it helps reduce the staff churn rate significantly.

EHR for Improving Agency Productivity

Agencies that utilize EHR software can deliver high-quality treatments and overall patient outcomes. With the automation of work processes and streamlining of communication between patients and clinic staff, productivity may increase.

Automating certain behavioral health processes helps clinical staff manage workload and improve overall effectiveness. EHR may also help mental health organizations digitize manual, paper-based, and time-consuming tasks. Without a doubt, EHR helps optimize agency operations and may directly or inadvertently reduce staff churn rates in mental health organizations.

2.    Reduces Cost of Training New Staff

The cost of training new staff in mental health organizations is also a leading cause of an increase in staff churn rates. Data from the Association of Talent Development shows that employers dedicate an average of 33 hours of training per employee [2]. However, the specific amount of time largely depends on factors like the organization’s size and skills.

Since it’s significantly costly to employ new staff in mental health organizations, optimizing practice can be helpful. Reputable and full-featured EHR solutions typically help make practice management implementation and training easier for agencies. The EHR solution provides help when agencies decide to switch to new practice management or clinical documentation system.

If agencies have challenges training staff to utilize the practice management system, they may be assigned a dedicated implementation team representative. The purpose of this representative is to help provide a guide through the setup and implementation process to optimize agency operations. With a lower cost of training, there will be a reduction in staff churn rates.

3.    Improves Worker Satisfaction

Optimizing agency operations will play a major role in improving worker satisfaction in behavioral health organizations. A study at Columbia University shows that job satisfaction is inversely related to turnover intention or staff churn rates [3].

Within and beyond the mental health sector, getting overworked is a significant cause of an increase in staff churn rates. Employees experience burnout when they carry out tasks without the necessary resources for ease and success.

Optimization creates better staff satisfaction because they can access the necessary resources for task success. An example is an EHR solution that provides various forms and clinical templates for staff, depending on their specific needs.

Some EHR solutions help behavioral health organizations search their libraries and find applicable templates. These templates may range from initial assessments to treatment plans and progress notes via discharge summaries.

In optimizing agency operations, it’s crucial to ensure templates or forms are DSM-5-ready. DSM-5 is a common language among clinicians that help communicate to their patients. The standard also helps establish reliable and consistent diagnoses.

4.    Helps Consistency in Service Delivery

Various studies show the relationship between service delivery and staff churn rates [4]. Lack of consistency in service delivery within the mental healthcare system may cause high staff churn rates. On the other hand, improved consistency should reduce these employee turnovers.

One of the methods to attaining consistency in service delivery is hiring the appropriate individuals or improving employee training. While those options are not always effective, optimization becomes imperative.

Processes like scheduling (and rescheduling), ordering laboratory results, secure messaging, and more become more straightforward. Some systems also make it easier to monitor clinical productivity and flag appointments and missing clinical documents with CPT codes.

Optimize Agency Operations with Procentive

Optimizing agency operations is imperative for better patient outcomes and reduced staff churn rates. Procentive makes it possible by providing a full-featured, simple EHR solution for behavioral health practices. The system will provide you with everything you need to power your practice, including an easy user interface and 24/7 web-based access.

Optimizing your billing process is much easier with Procentive. Agencies can easily launch telehealth sessions and allow clients to view and pay bills. With the billing feature available on Procentive, you can electronically submit both primary and secondary claims to payers. It’s also possible to issue payment reminders to clients, process EOB and ERA files, and create billing reports. Sign up for a demo of our product.


  1. Herschell AD, Kolko DJ, Hart JA, Brabson LA, Gavin JG. Mixed method study of workforce turnover and evidence-based treatment implementation in community behavioral health care settings. Child Abuse Negl. 2020 Apr;102:104419. doi: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2020.104419. Epub 2020 Feb 20. PMID: 32088538; PMCID: PMC8699177.
  2. 2016, ATD, ‘ATD Releases 2016 State of the Industry Report’,
  3. Medina, Elizabeth, 2012, Columbia University Libraries, ‘Job Satisfaction and Employee Turnover Intention: What does Organizational Culture Have To Do With It?’,
  4. Sitali B. Lwendo, International Journal of Business & Management Science, ‘Assessing the Impact Staff Turnover on Service Delivery: A Case Study Ministry of Justice, Windhoek’,


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