Considerations for Using Mental Health EHR Software

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Mental and behavioral health has been recognized as the leading growth area of healthcare for more than a decade. Governments, employers, and other healthcare workers support the behavioral health industry by encouraging patients to seek treatment before conditions damage an individual’s health or otherwise interfere with social or occupational functioning.

The Benefits of using a Mental Health EHR Software Solution

Behavioral and mental health electronic medical records (EMR) software offers powerful tools to maximize time and effort. These are five of the key advantages of using behavioral health EHR software.

  1. Supports care coordination. Therapists easily connect with other providers and general physicians to discuss patient conditions. Improved care coordination helps to deliver the best patient care.
  2. Increased efficiency. Patient data is stored and can be retrieved whenever the provider requires it. The therapy software also has online scheduling, charting, and digital patient intake features, which improve administrative efficiency, reducing staff members’ burden.
  3. Integrated billing. Handling billing and financial procedures can keep small practice set-ups overwhelmed and stressed. A good behavioral health EHR software offers billing integration that helps automate financial tasks and handles end-to-end billing procedures. Integrated billing offers insurance verification and claims processing to maintain a practice’s financial stability. Furthermore, behavioral and mental health practices operate with specific CPT codes. Having software that provides the correct codes and does not bury them with medical codes and procedures can make billing relatively painless.
  4. Supportive System. The software must be able to facilitate and improve direct patient interaction along with in-office workflows. The information provided should be of direct relevance to the needs of the clinical office and the population served. Group practices, for instance, are best served by software that allows the practice owner to quickly and correctly see monthly percentages of collected fees to assign to each clinician based on their revenues for the month. 
  5. Global Assessment of Functioning Charts. Patients and the practitioners are well served by software that can provide a graphical representation of ongoing treatment by integrating GAF charts. These charts can flow through to the patient’s dashboard, allowing them to see their improvement over time.
  6. Templates. Specialty templates should be provided by the mental health EMR to meet the practice’s needs. For example, specialty templates can be provided for anxiety, depression, bipolar, opioid or other substance use disorders, eating disorders, gambling, suicide, etc. Templates should be customizable to allow the behavioral practice to add or remove fields.
  7. Note Management. Mental and behavioral health EHRs should provide quick and easy access to previous notes without too many clicks. Notetaking should provide suggestions and easy incorporation of additional data such as assessment, other reports, communications, etc. 
  8. Accurate Data. Patients and clients should be allowed to enter their data upon intake, preferably online or through a tablet when in-office. That accurate data then can be used to populate primary demographic fields throughout the record. Some behavioral health practice management software packages also allow the patient or client to update their data via the internet or app, increasing accuracy over time. Providers then have easy access to needed data and histories, supporting high-quality care.
  9. Enhanced Prescribing. By using behavioral health practice management software, providers can easily access a specialized list of prescriptions that focus on behavioral health patients’ core conditions. Some behavioral health EHR software can include medication descriptions, contra-indications, and pricing for meds by geographic location. 

See TBHI’s articles related to EHR for more information.

Which Behavioral Health Practice Management Software to Choose?

To review and contact vendors who offer behavioral health practice management software, visit the TBHI Telehealth & Technology Buyer’s Guide.

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