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Buyer's Guide

by Gaby Loria,
Market Research Associate
Last Updated: March 18, 2017

Leading clinical psychiatry software systems offer:

  • Multiuser charting templates for evaluation
  • Subjective, objective, assessment and plan (SOAP) notes
  • Progress notes
  • Automated coding to ensure the highest possible E/M codes

Additionally, psychiatric electronic medical records (EMR)—also known as psychiatric electronic health records (EHR)—often integrate e-prescribing, online scheduling, clinical documentation, prescription and lab writing, clinical reporting and other clinical and administrative tools for psychiatrists.

e-prescribing in AdvancedMD EHR


E-prescribing in AdvancedMD EHR


When selecting a psychiatry EMR/EHR, providers should consider other features necessary to improve efficiency and care at their clinics. For example, some EMRs allow you to create and store custom, reusable notes in a database for quick retrieval during a patient encounter. In addition, many clinics will benefit from administrative features, such as a calendar application or patient scheduling for clinical appointments.

We’ve created this buyer’s guide to help you gain a deeper understanding of the features and benefits of psychiatric practice software.

Here's what we'll cover:

Common Features of Psychiatry Electronic Medical Records Software
Benefits of Psychiatry Software

Common Features of Psychiatry Electronic Medical Records Software

Psychiatry workflow management Your EMR should mimic the way you, as a behavioral health specialist, operate. From first patient contact to initial consult, treatment and billing, make sure your software facilitates the point of care and supports, rather than interferes, with your opportunities for direct patient interaction.
Advanced note management Psychiatrists need to be able to access their old notes quickly, to remind them of previous sessions. A psychiatry EMR should link progress notes directly to the treatment plan and allow for rapid note retrieval.
Psychiatry & behavioral health templates Specialty psychiatric SOAP notes templates include anxiety, depression, delirium, mania, psychosis, eating disorders, addiction, bipolar OCD, schizophrenia, suicide etc.
GAF charts Ensure you can rate the social, occupational and psychological functioning of a patient through Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF). Monitor the degree of severity of psychosocial factors with a graphical depiction of ongoing progress.
Psychiatric ICD-9 billing & coding Psychiatrists have their own unique terminology, required for both internal use and for external billing. A strong psychiatry software solution will provide detailed support for mental health billing, without the clutter of additional codes you don’t need.

The size of the practice, existing technology, connectivity and patient demographics may also play an important part in the decision-making process.

Benefits of Psychiatry EMR Software

Psychiatry software helps practitioners manage all the operational aspects of their practice—from patient scheduling and charting to billing and claim submission. With the availability of both cloud-based and on-premise products, users have the flexibility of storing their data either on a company database or in the cloud. Cloud-based systems also offer greater ease of use for less technical users and minimize the need for in-house IT staff.

Benefits that come with implementing psychiatry EMR software include:

Electronic patient charting. Charting is the process of capturing all relevant patient information such as the patient’s name, age, gender, details about past medical history etc. Without a proper EMR system in place, this process requires paperwork and handwritten data entries, and pulling up past information means sort through paper records.

An EMR system eases the process of data entry by allowing users to input information into patient records electronically. Some products also offer speech-to-text functionality, which allows users to update patient records using voice commands. With patient charts stored in a centralized location, practitioners can easily search and access records for future reference.

Patient notes. Psychiatrists must log patient assessment notes and diagnoses during patient interactions. These notes also include other details such as progress reports and future treatment plans. An EMR solution helps practitioners record patient notes and store them in the practice’s database. In this case, speech-to-text functionality eases the process of note taking. Since patient records are stored in the database, practitioners can easily access past notes.

Billing management. The process of medical billing involves much documentation and paperwork. This becomes even more complicated if payment comes from a third-party insurance company or Medicaid. A billing management system pulls all the patient information directly from the patient records and autopopulates it into the billing documents, thereby saving significant time in data entry.

Most products on the market offer two methods of billing management: Users can either manage billing tasks on their own or outsource it to a vendor. Vendor outsourcing is becoming popular as it eliminates the need for additional staff to manage billing and claims processes. Both billing methods support different payment modes such as cash, Medicaid and third-party insurance claims.

Integrated calendars and scheduling. Scheduling patients can be a challenge for psychiatry practitioners. If a practitioner’s calendar isn’t up-to-date and available to receptionists and booking staff, overbooking can occur.

An EMR solutions makes the process of scheduling more efficient by making real-time calendars of all practitioners available to the booking staff. The calendar is automatically updated when an appointment is confirmed. This functionality also allows staff to reschedule appointments in case the doctor is on unplanned leave or off work.

Some EMR products in the market also offer automated reminders that sends text messages and email communication to patients regarding their upcoming appointment details.

Third-party insurance management. Practitioners who manually manage their operations face challenges when searching for medical codes to file claims with third-party insurance companies and Medicaid. With different diagnoses having varied ICD-10 and CPT codes, searching these codes can be time consuming. Further, any mismatch in codes can result in the claims being rejected.

An EMR software stores all patient codes in the database itself and provides an easy search option. As users start typing the disease and treatment names in the search box, they get suggestions in a drop-down list. This eliminates the effort of manually searching for diseases and treatment codes.

E-prescribing. This functionality enables practitioners to send patient prescriptions to the pharmacy preferred by the patient. Patients can show their medical cards at the pharmacy and collect their medication from the counter. It also helps pharmacies ensure the availability of a medication prior to the patient’s visit.

Patient portal. A patient portal is a secure website where patients can access their diagnoses, medication, treatment plans and test reports. This simplifies the process of communication and allows practitioners to deliver test results as soon as possible.

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