The Importance of Implementing a Mental Health EHR System
Implementing a mental health EHR system streamlines record-keeping and eliminates the need to manage multiple systems. It also allows professionals to focus more on patients and their needs.
Although EHRs improve some information practices, documenting narrative information in the mental health context resists standardization. The design of mental health EHRs should consider the specific workflows and information types relevant to this context.
An EHR can help mental health practices streamline operations by simplifying record-keeping and data management. It can also reduce time spent on recurring administrative tasks, allowing clinicians to spend more time with their clients.
However, studies have also highlighted that EHRs often fail to meet specific demands in the mental health context. These include restrictive templates that take away from the narrative format of mental health notes and essential templates or data fields that are not available in the EHR.
In addition, some found that EHR can disrupt established workflows between clinicians and service users. It is, therefore, essential for services to identify their information and workflow needs before choosing an EHR. Moreover, they should consider selecting an EHR with built-in features that match those requirements.
Enhanced Patient Care
Practitioners and healthcare institutes handling mental health practices have to juggle many tasks. A specialist EHR system helps reduce the burden on these individuals by automating their critical accounting and financial procedures. This includes billing and insurance verification.
The system also enables healthcare professionals to communicate with clients’ family doctors and other care providers. This eliminates the need to play phone tag and improves overall patient care.
In addition, the specialist EHR features allow practitioners to access a specialized list of prescriptions focusing on psychiatric medications rather than those about medical specialties like Urology or Cardiology. This dramatically improves the prescription medication process and minimizes the risk of drug interactions. It also helps practitioners keep up with newer medications and treatments.
Enhanced Data Collection
A mental health EHR system allows clinicians to access data in real-time, which improves communication between healthcare professionals and will enable them to identify trends or relevant insights that can inform treatment programs. It also eliminates the need for physical records, which can be misplaced or damaged, and provides a secure online environment that meets HIPAA requirements.
However, several studies have found that the design and interface of some EHRs can negatively impact clinical documentation. For example, others found that existing documentation systems could overlook mental health-specific information practices and that workarounds were necessary to address them.
Consider the software’s specialized behavioral and mental health practice features when selecting an EHR. Look for a digital patient intake form, easy billing integration, and templates that can help providers document accurately and efficiently.
Using a specialized EHR in mental health care can make your facility more efficient. Documentation is streamlined, and administrative tasks like billing are consolidated into one system, which helps reduce the amount of time staff spend on nonclinical duties.
However, integrating an EHR into a mental health setting can cause problems with information practices. Studies have shown that mental health clinicians may be reluctant to document sensitive information in EHRs.
This is because they believe it can disrupt therapeutic relationships and the informal documentation that allows them to develop ideas before making a judgment. They also tend to use more narrative than structured data fields. Therefore, adding an EHR to a mental health service requires careful planning.
Unlike traditional paper-based records, an EHR system allows mental health practitioners to store and organize data digitally. This can help minimize human errors and improve patient care and safety. An EHR system can also reduce readmission rates and overall costs by allowing clinicians to track high-risk patients.
Various studies have highlighted the difficulties of integrating an EHR into a mental health context. Some outlined how using an EHR could negatively impact people in crisis who cannot be set up near a computer to input information.
With a fully integrated EHR, mental health practices can benefit from automated prior authorization and insurance verification processes to simplify billing. A unified EHR also enables practitioners to record medication administration records and e-prescription capabilities for quicker processing and renewal of prescriptions.