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Is Your EHR Technology Outdated? Here Are 4 Signs to Look For

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Many organizations in the behavioral health industry are considering updating or replacing their electronic health record (EHR) systems. Many of these changes are being implemented because of vast improvements in EHR technology across various specialties.

Behavioral health clinicians, private practice clinics, and inpatient and outpatient behavioral healthcare facilities can improve their workflow processes with new technology-driven advances in EHR capabilities and functionalities related to different industry specializations.

Let's take a look at some of the reasons why you might replace your EHR.

Your EHR technology is not growing with your practice

Behavioral health providers require unique features in their electronic health record technology. Each practice uses different data, so its EHR needs vary. These differences may include a variety of codes, regulations, data and reporting requirements. Specific screening tools, strict HIPAA and client privacy requirements, and extensive care coordination represent unique needs for behavioral health providers.

As your practice grows, you may need an entirely new EHR system. For example, some behavioral health practices may start out as solo organizations and then grow to become a group practice with multiple clinicians. Additional EHR features may provide basic functionality for each practitioner, such as a separate billing system, medication tracking and appointment scheduling capabilities. To keep up with a higher volume of clients in your growing practice, your old system may also need to be updated to include some of the newer features of EHR technology, such as electronic claims or electronic prescription transmission features.

Your EHR workflow or user interface is not flexible

The type of behavioral health facility often dictates the EMR (electronic medical record) system services you need. For example, outpatient and inpatient behavioral health facilities require full-featured services that provide functionality with features such as:

  • Specific screening tools (such as the MMPI).
  • Strict HIPAA requirements.
  • Extensive care coordination.
  • Quality tracking and reporting (for tracking Medicare/Medicaid quality measures).
  • Organizing behavioral health EHR requirements.

Your EMR lacks mobile access

Mobile telebehavioral health refers to the use of mobile phones and other wireless devices to provide behavioral health services to clients. There are many useful applications, including those that enable assessment, treatment monitoring and adherence, health promotion, and decision support systems.

The use of mobile access in behavioral health practices enables new measures for evaluating a client’s behavioral health status and behavior. Mobile access can lend itself to conveniently assisting with client screening, diagnosis, monitoring and treatment. Actionable data from mobile apps are seamlessly returned to the EMR, and this data can provide clinically useful measures while transmitting immediate feedback to help clients.

There are many advantages of mobile telebehavioral health, including portability, interactivity, just-in-time interventions, and low resources and requirements. Mobile access to a client's EMR is a fundamental function for efficient workflow in behavioral healthcare practices. Mobile access EMR systems allow you to:

  • Manage tasks online.
  • Conveniently access client data.
  • Provide immediate attention to clients' critical conditions (such as addressing a change in behavioral health status).
  • Enhance communication with clients.
  • Use the built-in camera to add images to client charts.
  • Transcribe notes with voice recording tools.

Your EHR is not specific to your practice industry

Most practices determine their EHR technology needs based on the needs of the clients they serve and the clinical data generated when treatment is rendered.

Besides core features, such as the medical history, diagnostic assessments, provider notes and lab results, consider how an EHR can best provide behavioral health treatment in a way that enhances the client experience. Also, consider practice types and client types.

For example, a practice that provides telepsychiatry would have different emergency medical services needs than those that only offer in-person therapy. The EHR system should offer telemedicine functionality while supporting video-based telemedicine and a platform that allows remote care to be delivered effectively. The platform should also maintain regulatory compliance, and the video interface should provide an experience that simulates a face-to-face experience between the client and provider. The telemedicine features should be seamlessly integrated with the EHR platform.

The American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) Committee on Mental Health Information Technology (CMHIT) offers an online tool to assist behavioral health practitioners in selecting the right EHR features. The CMHIT tutorial offers a complete overview of the core and advanced EHR features that you should consider. The APA has created these user and system requirements so that members can use the comprehensive checklist to evaluate EHRs. You must determine which requirements apply to your practice. In order to make this resource as helpful and complete as possible, this information is constantly evolving.

Access modern EHR technology

Core Solutions, Inc. enables behavioral health providers to improve client relationships, deliver integrated care coordination and optimize their practices with our EHR platform Cx360. Contact Core today to learn how our solution can help you take advantage of everything an EHR has to offer your organization.

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