Unlike many other medical disciplines, behavioral health professionals are often underserved by the medical technology industry. In many cases, these individuals are forced to use software solutions like electronic health records (EHRs) or electronic medical records (EMRs) that are designed for family doctors, urgent cares, or emergency departments.
While these solutions can aid in automating many administrative tasks, they often feel incomplete when applied to behavioral health. Instead, having an EHR solution geared specifically toward your needs as a counselor, psychiatrist, social worker, or other similar professional in the field can make a significant difference.
If you are looking to introduce an EHR system to your behavioral health practice or you are considering replacing your current one, here are some tips for finding the right solution that meets your needs.
Designed Specifically for Behavioral Health Organizations
The EHR solution that you select should be designed for needs specific to the field of behavioral health. It should be able to track patient interactions and outcomes over time, as well as maintain a high degree of confidentiality.
While behavioral health is similar to other medical disciplines in some ways, the fact is that there are also key differences. For example, a behavioral health patient may experience an incident that mandates specific documentation protocols that may not be available in a universal solution. These need to be taken into account when choosing an EHR solution so that you can find one that will work well for your specific needs.
Online Appointment Management and Registration
Virtual scheduling has become the new normal for behavioral health. With a few taps of a screen, a patient can manage his or her appointment with your organization. This added convenience also creates an easier path for rescheduling or canceling sessions if necessary.
Depending on the condition that someone is seeking treatment for, he or she may also prioritize a higher level of confidentiality. Being able to register, schedule appointments, and interact with your organization in a more discreet virtual manner can play an instrumental role in enhancing your patient experience.
Lastly, online appointment management features enable you to more easily fill opened time slots in your schedule. If someone cancels or reschedules the appointment, you can easily see the newly created availability and offer it to someone else.
e-Prescription and Document Management
The ability to prescribe medication electronically is another feature that behavioral health specific EHR solutions should offer. This can help you manage your prescription workflow in a more efficient manner while also providing patients with the convenience of having their prescriptions sent directly to the pharmacy of their choice.
Many behavioral health medications require a strict regimen. If not taken regularly, this can create adverse effects that impact their quality of life. With electronic prescribing capabilities, you can ensure that their medication is accurately filled in a timely manner by sending the order virtually to their local pharmacy immediately after the patients have finished their appointments.
In addition, many behavioral health EHR solutions also come with document management features. This can be beneficial for storing and organizing patient files, as well as sharing information with other members of the care team, such as a social worker or general practitioner.
Lastly, unlike other forms of healthcare, incident documentation is a critical need in the behavioral health field that often follows different protocols than a physical episode. These need to be taken into account when choosing your EHR solution to ensure that the system you select is able to meet your specific needs in this area.
A patient portal is a secure, HIPAA-compliant online space where patients can access their medical records, schedule appointments, make payments, and communicate with their providers.
In behavioral health, patient portals can play an important role in providing patients with access to their care team and the resources they need between appointments. For example, if a patient is experiencing a crisis, they can easily log into the portal and message their provider for guidance,resources, or support.
Portals can also be used to provide patients with educational materials on their condition, healthy coping mechanisms, and more. By giving patients the ability to access this information on their own time, you can help them feel more empowered in their treatment process.
Lastly, portals can be used as a tool for engagement. By sending reminders for upcoming appointments or check-ins, you can help ensure that patients are staying on track with their treatment plan.
Billing Management and Analysis
As with any healthcare organization, accurate and timely billing are essential components to sustaining a successful practice. In behavioral health, there are often a number of different payers involved, which can make billing and collections more complex.
A high-performing behavioral health EHR solution should offer features that streamline this process and make it easier to get paid for the services you provide. This includes the ability to track payments, denials, and other key performance indicators.
In addition, behavioral health EHR solutions should also offer robust reporting capabilities that are compliant with state and federally mandated guidelines. This can help you identify areas of opportunity, track progress over time, and make more informed decisions about the future of your practice.
Get a Behavioral Health-Specific EHR for Your Practice Today
At Integrative, we strive to develop effective EHR solutions for behavioral health practices based on the needs of real providers in the field. Designed specifically for your professional needs, our behavioral health EHR system will enable you to streamline many of your administrative operations while also enhancing the level of care that you can provide to your patients.
To learn more, schedule a 15-minute call with us today.