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7 Ways An EHR/EMR Can Improve Therapy

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Bobbie Byrd

To treat the complex needs of a patient — physical, behavioral and mental — providers need reliable sources of information that are available promptly, including access to insight from a multidisciplinary team of professionals. As a result, electronic health or medical records (EHR/EMR) have transformed how healthcare professionals practice their craft. 

Unfortunately, the incorporation of modern technology in mental health therapy settings has lagged behind other fields such as therapy and rehab. However, with a configurable platform built to optimize clinical efficiencies as well as enhance patient engagement, an EHR could significantly increase accessibility of care and improve the delivery of mental health treatments such as counseling or cognitive therapy. 

What Features Do Behavioral Therapists Need In An EHR/EMR?

When you're in the market for an EHR/EMR, whether you're purchasing your first system or looking to upgrade an existing one, there are some specific features to seek. With the right solution in place, you can go a long way in helping improve the mental health therapy you and your staff deliver to your patients. Some of the most prominent features needed in an EHR/EMR include:

  • Support for patients with complex treatment plans. Care plans for these patients frequently need to accommodate records from talk therapies, data on socio-economic factors, insights on medication regimens as well as input from other providers.
  • Capability to interact with multiple types of facilities. Behavioral therapists may offer services in an inpatient or outpatient setting and in every kind of facility in between.
  • Patient confidentiality and data protection. All medical records are sensitive, but mental health records in particular can contain personal insights that may harm patients if they fall into the wrong hands. For that reason, security must be paramount.

How Does An EHR/EMR Benefit Mental Health and Behavioral Therapy Practices? 

Streamlined Medication Management

EHR/EMR systems are designed to perform automatic processes which enhance patient care and safety. In the mental health field, medication management is one of the areas where this is most apparent. Your EHR/EMR system should automatically scan your patients' records and warn you of any potential drug interaction issues when new medications are prescribed.

Lowered Overhead Costs

Adding a customized EHR/EMR system to your practice can help reduce operating costs:

Fewer Billing Errors

With an EHR/EMR system, it's easier and more efficient to document specific treatments during each therapy session. This can help fulfill the requirements of insurance companies for documentation of services rendered, thus decreasing your percentage of denied claims. Plus- should your practice ever be audited, the needed documentation to support your billing practices will be at your fingertips.

Patient Portal Access

Your EHR/EMR system should provide patients access to a patient portal that lets clients contact your office staff regarding billing, scheduling or other general questions. The patient portal should be easy-to-use and include an automated reminder feature for upcoming appointments. A self check-in kiosk would also increase patient convenience as well as reduce the workload of your front desk operations. 

Teletherapy Services

Telemedicine services, also called telehealth or teletherapy services, are growing in popularity among patients and providers alike. Your EHR/EMR system should be capable of running a secure teletherapy platform that allows your patients and their therapists to interact via video conferencing. With teletherapy, you can reach patients who are more likely to miss appointments such as people in remote areas, those who lack reliable transportation, individuals with physical disabilities and people whose mental health conditions may make it difficult for them to leave their homes.

Streamlined Treatment Planning

Your EHR/EMR software should quickly build an outline of a patient's plan of care and update it when needed. Through this functionality, your therapists are able to track what's working and what doesn't help achieve the patient's desired goals. You can also monitor therapy homework, your patient's responses and make notes for future sessions. 

Secure Information Sharing 

Mental health or behavioral therapists need reliable, secure methods for storing and sharing patient health information (PHI). With EHR/EMR software, your therapists can communicate details about diagnoses, treatment plans and patient goals with other healthcare providers in order to coordinate the highest quality of care. This information-sharing results in improved clinical delivery, enhanced communication between different disciplines engaged with specific patients and increased workflow efficiencies - all of which better patient engagement and improved outcomes can follow. 

Whether it be applied behavioral analysis (ABA) or mental health, therapists have specific challenges that can only be met by specific technology-enabled solutions. Discover the Raintree difference by learning more about our patient engagement, revenue cycle management, clinical documentation and more!

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