When Selecting an EHR System, Mental Health Providers Have Options

By February 20, 2017
EHR system mental health

When considering an EHR system in the not so distant past, mental health providers found the field for behavioral health was limited to physical medical conditions. Further, they were unwilling or unable to finance the implementation of an EHR system.

Today, however, behavioral health information is becoming a critical piece of a client’s holistic patient record, and behavioral health providers have options to adopt an EHR system developed specifically for the needs of the behavioral healthcare population.

While the selection and implementation of an EHR system that will meet the diverse needs of behavioral health clinicians, administrative and billing staff, and leadership can be complicated, the reality is that behavioral health EHR solutions are now available, affordable, and meet a wide array of care coordination needs.

Selecting an EHR System

Careful consideration and selection of the right EHR system, coupled with an extensive implementation strategy, can help behavioral health organizations achieve the many benefits and advantages, including a ROI that makes business sense.

There are existing behavioral health EHR systems available that are well-designed to support the life cycle of client care from intake and scheduling to assessments and treatment planning, all the way through to billing. Plus, robust reporting and analytics for tools contribute to better overall business decision making.

Features to Consider

Not all EHRs can function well for behavioral health organizations. Here are a few system features you want to ensure your new EHR system has:

  • The content must be targeted towards behavioral health treatments, such as protocols for psychological disorders and prescription-based treatment. This includes different types of care such as outpatient, inpatient/residential, and offsite visits.
  • A mental health EHR system should capture free text. Clinicians often record individual information about the client in free text, writing down what they observe and what family members tell them. This allows clinicians to manipulate and examine information to make better treatment plans and achieve better outcomes.
  • A behavioral health EHR software solution should be developed with mental health regulatory and payor requirements in mind. This is one of the main reasons why organization need a solution specific for behavioral health.

Creating a Plan

To ensure you select the best EHR system, mental health providers should create a strategic plan for EHR implementation. Clinicians and staff should be directly involved, and their suggestions should form the basis for selecting and configuring the EHR system.

An overarching strategy that identifies the features and benefits you expect to receive is invaluable in helping you evaluate EHR system vendors. Decide on everything you need the system to do, like improve treatment planning, communication, better reporting, and supporting holistic care. Then use that list to choose the best EHR system that meets or exceeds those requirements.

Finally, your workflows might need to evolve and adapt to fit the new EHR system. A system will not fix bad workflows, so if something in your processes creates problems or bottlenecks, the EHR system will only amplify it. This is why you should put all care coordination staff together on a team to map your processes first and work with a knowledgeable behavioral health EHR vendor to help you align processes and the EHR system into a complete platform solution.

Where to Get More Information

Remarkable Health designed a highly informative infographic that highlights important statistics on what you can expect in terms of ROI when you implement a behavioral health EHR system. Mental health providers can see at a glance some of the many benefits that can be achieved.

The infographic uses information from a Behavioral Healthcare Executive study and reports statistics from the Health Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) and Behavioral Healthcare Executive.

For instance, an HIMSS Study reports a 98% reduction in rejected claims reported by some behavior health EHR software providers.

For more information, download Remarkable Health’s infographic here today.