The delivery of quality behavioral health services comes with many challenges, especially in terms of portable documentation platforms. In order to assure compliance and billing efficiencies, providers need electronic health record (EHR) technology that can move with their clinicians and synch seamlessly back to the home office—especially when clinicians spend the bulk of their day serving clients in outlying locations.
Pawnee Mental Health Services (PMHS), headquartered in Manhattan, Kansas, serves 10 counties, many of them deeply rural. The not-for-profit organization provides a range of onsite and community-based services for adults and adolescents, including substance abuse and addiction recovery issues and emotional health support.
PMHS began looking for a behavioral health EHR solution in 2016. The organization decided on Remarkable Health’s fully integrated and ONC-certified EHR system, which includes clinical documentation, client engagement tools, billing interfaces and data analytics. The new system gave the agency all the functionality it desired—but only from the home office.
“When we compared other systems, we decided Remarkable Health’s EHR system was the best one for us, but we really needed a mobile application as well,” explains Shelli Schottler, LMSW, Community Services Director at PMHS. “So, in 2018, we agreed to be a beta test site for its new mobile app.”
PMHS began by introducing the CT|One Mobile app to 10 of its technology-savvy clinicians—about 10 percent of its staff. The agency’s clinicians use the app on smartphones, giving them access to client lists, client demographic information, case management documentation, scheduling tools and other features.
As an integral part of the project, the agency’s clinicians provide regular input on ease of use, functionality and the clinical and business improvements gained through the mobile functionality.
“We have weekly meetings with the Remarkable Health product team to provide our user feedback and pass along any issues we find.”
Continuity From the Field
Over the years, EHR systems have matured into great storage tools, but haven’t always been good travel companions. One of the biggest game-changers for PMHS was giving its clinicians the ability to tap into the client demographic information, case notes and appointment lists stored in its Remarkable Health EHR system from anywhere – regardless if they had an internet connection or not.
The CT|One mobile app gives clinicians the power of knowledge and efficiency before, during and after a client visit. From an Andriod or iOS smartphone, an agency worker can view client appointments for the next several days, create client notes at each visit and tap into information on the next client. The app saves all documentation and automatically sends the updated data to the agency’s EHR whenever the clinician logs in from a WiFi-capable area.
Being able to document securely from the road erases the distance between the home EHR and the field staff—and eliminates the risk of outdated client record information or not meeting compliance requirements.
Tracking updated appointment data on the mobile platform also saves clinicians from unnecessary travel if a client reschedules an appointment with short notice or changes service locations, a significant time-saver in rural areas where clients can be many miles apart.
PMHS has seen many advantages to using the mobile app, but helping staff work better and smarter is the key workforce impact.
“I think the efficiency is probably the biggest advantage,” Schottler says. “The mobile app helps our staff stay more informed and know what is happening with the client before arriving for a visit. Based on the staff member’s role, the app enables clinicians to pull up notes from other providers quickly, which is helpful when our staff members are meeting with other agencies or individuals. That helps us work efficiently and be professional to others.”
Schottler remembers her own days in the field before electronic documentation tools were common. “Before EHRs, I’d have my client list on paper and would write my notes in my car on the way to my next appointment,” she recalls. Now, clinicians need deep case management tools and the ability to capture documentation at every remote site visit, both for efficiency and accuracy.”
“Clinicians are expected to be billing an eight-hour day, but depending on their jobs, they could be out in the field for anywhere from four to six hours a day,” Schottler says. “So that doesn’t give them a lot of time to sit down and document at their computers like an onsite therapist might be able to do.”
Documentation = Billing
Over the past few years, the expectations of timely billing documentation have condensed greatly. In today’s business environment, being able to document accurately and efficiently is becoming a key attribute of agency success—since it all comes down to how quickly the complete service delivery record moves to the claims processing stage.
Being able to capture and save documentation electronically from the field allows clinicians to complete their service documentation for faster billing—something PMHS says has improved its bottom line. “It used to be you could spend a day out in the field and do your documentation later, but now the expectation is basically 24 hours,” Schottler explains. “So, it’s very important for our staff to be able to document what services were delivered in a much shorter time frame.”
As business expectations increasingly connect timely documentation to revenue cycle management, behavioral health agencies are realizing their needs for EHR technology have shifted from being “paper-replacement tools” to becoming a technology partner in client outcomes management and agency efficiencies.
Next on PMHS’ wish list for app functionality is an easier way to accommodate client handoffs—passing an assigned client list from one clinician to another. And, sooner or later, Schottler says, speech-to-text technology will become every clinician’s next craving. Now that they are incorporating the mobile app into their everyday workflows, they plan to take full advantage of the documentation efficiency features already available, like text-to-speech, tagging, signatures and more.
The ultimate future for EHR mobile apps is to be to be able to do anything a clinician can do in the office, but from anywhere. “Ultimately, we’d love it if the entire EHR was accessible from the mobile app,” Schottler says. “That would allow clinicians to see the full treatment plans and maybe even the deeper conversations between behavioral health and primary care physicians.”
About Remarkable Health
For over 25 years, Remarkable Health has pioneered innovation through technology for behavioral health and DD providers. Our integrated suite of outcomes management, EHR and mobile technology arms providers with the tools they need to improve client outcomes by spending less time on documentation and inefficient workarounds and more time delivering value-based care and engagement. To learn more about the CT|One EHR and the CT|One Mobile app, contact us at (480) 550-8077 or visit our website at www.RemarkableHealth.com.