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How to Use EHR for Behavioral Health by Healthcare Professionals

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    Posted in EHR

    Last Updated | February 6, 2023

    Executive Summary: EHR for Behavioral Health

    For years, the viability of EHR for behavioral health has been seen with suspicion, given the unique requirement of the practice. Now, with modern EHR systems, it’s becoming easier for behavioral healthcare practitioners to integrate powerful EHR solutions to streamline their practice. Read on to know how behavioral practitioners are using EHR to improve patient healthcare quality.

    What is a behavioral health and why should it be included in electronic health records (EHR)?

    While it’s a common practice to use “Mental health” and “Behavioral health” interchangeably, however, the two terms differ fundamentally. When we talk about mental health, it is almost exclusively about the psychological state of a person. Whereas, the study of behavioral health involves the mental and physical state of a person.

    While the two terms do share many similarities and various issues covered by mental health also fall under the scope of behavioral health. Still, “behavioral health” represents the total health and well-being state of a person including their behavior, habits, abuse, fitness, and other.

    The study of behavioral health is about examining the connection between the health and well-being of the physical, mental and spiritual states. It involves studying of emotions, habits, and behavior of a person along with their ability to perform everyday life functions.

    According to a study, nearly one-third of patients in the USA suffers from some form of behavioral health issues and require adequate behavioral health services for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation. Some of the more pressing types of behavioral health services required by patients include;

    • Mental healthcare
    • Substance abuse prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation
    • Psychiatric care
    • Family Counseling

    According to one estimate, over 50 million adults in the USA are suffering from some form of mental health illness and over 60% of them don’t have access to quality healthcare services for their conditions.

    Given the massive gap in the number of patients and behavioral healthcare services, it’s important for healthcare institutions and behavioral healthcare practitioners to implement the latest technological tools and techniques to maximize their efficiency.

    Enters EHR for behavioral health…

    Read more about mental health app development solutions

    IoT healthcare solutions have become the essential medical practice globally, given their massive impact in reaching out to a large number of patients and improving the efficiency of healthcare services. Given the serious shortage of behavioral healthcare practitioners, it becomes even more important for practitioners to implement EHR for mental health in private practice, clinics, and hospitals. By implementing EHR for behavioral health, practitioners can automate various administrative tasks to relieve their burden, as well as, improve the overall quality of patient care.

    Traditionally, healthcare practitioners are required to tackle various administrative and operational systems in addition to their practice. From authorization to documentation, insurance verification, billing, scheduling, prescriptions, and much more, there are a whole lot of responsibilities that adversely impact the quality of practice. Thereby, behavioral healthcare practitioners need to partner up with EMR EHR software development experts to customize the best electronic health records for behavioral health that can help automate various functions and improve the overall quality of patient care.

    Related: Medical Device Software Development 

    emr/ehr development services

    How can behavioral health be effectively captured and tracked in EHRs to improve patient care coordination and outcomes across the care continuum?

    improving patient care coordination with EHR

    EHR for behavioral health isn’t just helpful in taking over administrative and operational tasks for practitioners but also assists them to access patients’ longitudinal health records, which are crucial to improve the quality of healthcare services. By implementing EHR for behavioral health, practitioners are also able to streamline data records and documentation with a centralized electronic record.

    Given the various benefits of EHR systems across the care continuum, practitioners are increasingly looking for custom EHR for mental health private practice solutions, to assist them to improve the overall quality of patient care.

    Below are some ways EHR for behavioral health enables practitioners to effectively capture data and improve patient care coordination.

    –         Easy Data Storage and Review

    Behavioral healthcare can be provided in various settings. Often time, group counseling sessions had to be provided, which makes it challenging for practitioners to record and update data. With a modern EHR system, it’s easier for behavioral healthcare practitioners to collect, store, update and evaluate documentation for all counseling sessions under all settings.

    –         Notifications and Reminders

    No-shows are one of the biggest challenges faced by the healthcare system. Each year, the healthcare system and private clinics lose billions of dollars due to patients’ no-shows. All the latest EHR for behavioral health systems comes with automated notifications and reminder tools, which ensure patients are notified and updated for their scheduled consultation. This enormously helps practitioners to improve their efficiency and minimize No-Shows.

    –         Decreased Archival Needs

    With electronic health records, practitioners no longer need to store piles and piles of files in their cabinets. All relevant details can be updated and stored on secure servers, which subsequently can also be accessed easily from remote locations by any authorized person.

    –         Increased Efficiency

    EHR for mental health counseling also greatly improves the efficiency of behavioral healthcare practice. By automating various administrative and operational tasks like insurance verification, billing, appointment scheduling, documentation maintenance, and more, practitioners are left with more time to dedicate to practice; allowing them to improve the efficiency and quality of healthcare services.

    –         Ease of Prescribing

    E-prescription is a highly effective function that eliminates the need for a hand-written prescription. E-prescription is especially effective in behavioral healthcare since many times practitioners have to prescribe specific medications like opioids, which needs strict dose monitoring to avoid drug abuse. With e-prescription, it’s easier to manage and track medication and reduce the chances of drug abuse.

    Learn about the integration of EHR with billing software for Mental Health professionals and find out more.

    Related: Best EHR software for mental health

    What challenges does behavioral health pose for EHR implementation and use, and how can these be overcome?

    While there are various benefits of EHR implementation for behavioral healthcare, it certainly comes with its own set of challenges and concerns. Some of the worth-mentioning concerns that impede the implementation of EHR for behavioral health include:

    –         Data Privacy Concern:

    Given the sensitive nature of medical healthcare services, it’s of utmost importance for practitioners to ensure the safety and privacy of sensitive patients’ data. Also, there are strict regulations in place like HIPAA that require complete privacy and protection of healthcare data.

    That’s one reason why healthcare practitioners need to hire professional experts for developing a medical app that complies with the strict laws regulating the healthcare industry. Any EHR system considered for implementation should have robust safety features and compliance certification for federal, state-level, and local regulations.

    With the increase in cybersecurity crimes, modern EHR system comes with advanced security protocols. However, that adds to the cost of the system and thereby, further impedes the implementation rate for EHRs.

    –         Financial Constraints:

    Behavioral healthcare service has always faced serious financial constraints. It’s one element of the healthcare system that doesn’t receive adequate support from the government, thereby, further squeezing the financial space for the practice.

    To add to the woes, EHR for behavioral health comes at a premium price. In fact, many exclusive EHR systems like EPIC EHR for behavioral health are prohibitively expensive, especially for small clinics and individual practices. Thereby, it’s imperative for practitioners and clinics to go for custom EHR solutions that meet their practice needs. For instance, the best EHR for small mental health practices may not be ideal for hospitals or clinics with mass-scale mental health practices.

    –         Usability Hurdles:

    For a long time, the usability of EHR systems for behavioral health practice was seen with doubt. This was primarily due to the fact that out of the various healthcare practices, behavioral healthcare requires the most advanced data sharing, integrated care management, and data exchange features. Even today, the best solution for behavioral healthcare practitioners is to go with dedicated or customized EHR solutions that meet their specific requirements.

    Related: Best EMR for psychiatrists

    What are some best practices for integrating behavioral health into EHRs, based on real-world experience with this technology?”

    Any successful healthcare model for behavioral practice would need to integrate key factors of both medical and behavioral healthcare, which are crucial to determine the overall wellness of a person.

    Below are five crucial steps that need to be integrated into EHR for effective behavioral healthcare service:

    • Ensure availability and integration of vital behavioral health screening tools in EHR
    • Ensure accurate and detailed documentation for enhanced behavioral health and primary care
    • Ensure robust security features for secure and private information sharing
    • Ensure compliance with regulations, policies, and patients’ requests

    Implementing EHR into healthcare practice is always an uphill battle. However, with the right EHR integration partner, things can move along seamlessly. At Folio3 our exclusive EHR for behavioral health services enable practitioners and clinics to choose and customize the perfect solution for their practice. We provide clients with all the crucial support they need to make a smooth transition to EHR. Whether you are looking for EPIC integration or want a custom EHR solution for your practice, our expert developers will work with you to design a robust EHR system that anticipates all our practice requirements and help you improve the overall quality of patient care.

    Related: how to develop a mental health app?


    Outline the features that are important in an EHR for behavioral health.

    Some of the key features in any standard EHR for behavioral health include:

    • Easy storage and access to patient’s health records
    • Powerful analytics tools
    • HL7 Compliance
    • ICD-10 Specialty Billing & Coding Support
    • Customizable Reports
    • Electronic Prescription (EPCS)
    • Advanced Security features

    Describe how an EHR can improve patient care for behavioral health.

    Some of the benefits of EHR implementation for behavioral healthcare include;

    • Improved patient safety
    • Streamline operations
    • Better healthcare service
    • Easy access to patient records
    • Better coordination of healthcare services
    • Improved billing process; and
    • Financial stability

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