Electronic medical record (EMR)/electronic health record (EHR) systems for mental and behavioral health providers have unique features and capabilities specifically for counselors, mental health clinics and group practices. We created this guide to help you understand your options and evaluate the best fit for you.
Here's what this guide will cover:
There are a number of features unique to the mental health field that you'll want to look for in a software system. For example, leading systems offer charting templates for evaluation and the digitization of progress notes, automated coding to ensure highest possible E/M codes and medication and prescription management tools. Additionally, software for psychiatrists, psychologists and behavioral centers often have e-prescribing to electronically generate prescriptions and the proper documentation, and a laboratory request interface to track patient lab results.
Software for mental health professionals is also often referred to as "therapy software." Though the terms are often used interchangeably, "mental health software" tends to connote more robust functionality that may be beneficial for large practices or clinics, whereas "therapy software" may include more basic functionality that is sufficient for solo practitioners.
When selecting a mental or behavioral health EMR, providers should consider other features necessary to improve efficiency and care at their agency or facility. For example, some psychiatry electronic medical records allow you to create and store custom, reusable notes in a database for quick retrieval during a patient encounter. Others will need administrative features like a calendar application or patient scheduling system for clinical appointments.
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Here are some of the capabilities to consider:
|Workflow management||Make sure your system facilitates point of care and supports, rather than interferes, with your opportunities for direct patient interaction, thus supporting the way you do business.|
|Advanced note management||Mental and behavioral health specialists may need to access their old notes quickly to review previous sessions. Behavioral health electronic health records software should allow for easy retrieval and viewing of the notes and assessment in multi-axial format.|
|Specialty EMR templates||Specialty psychiatric SOAP notes templates include anxiety, depression, delirium, mania, psychosis, eating disorders, addiction, personality disorders, suicide and more. Providers can use the pre-existing templates or, if desired, customize them even further.|
|GAF charts||Monitor the severity of mental or behavioral factors with a graphical depiction of ongoing progress, rating the social, occupational and psychological functioning of a patient through Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF).|
|Specialty ICD-9 billing & coding||Many mental and behavioral health specialists have needs unique to their practice, depending on their area of focus. A strong solution will provide detailed billing support without the clutter of additional codes you don’t need.|
There could be several reasons why a mental health medical practice is seeking EMR software:
Moving from paper to digital records. Many practices are practically buried in paper charts. By moving to a digital system, these offices can reduce clutter and increase accuracy.
Replacing outdated systems. A common complaint from software buyers often refers to the age of a system and it’s inability to perform as quickly or efficiently as newer applications. Other reasons: some older systems are no longer supported by the vendor, and new systems are likely to have updated features to meet federal requirements.
Integrating applications into one system. Double entry into various systems that perform different tasks wastes a lot of time. Practices seek more integration of software, and many modern systems offer combined applications or the ability to connect different systems together.
There are several trends happening in electronic medical records for mental health and psychiatry software. Here are a few you should consider as you select a product and vendor:
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