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EHR Role-Based Security in Behavioral Health and Addiction Treatment

Role-Based Security in Behavioral Health Software

EHR role-based security is a critical feature in any EHR designed for behavioral health and addiction treatment.

EHR role-based security is a critical feature in any EHR designed for behavioral health and addiction treatment.

What is EHR role-based security?

Technically speaking, it’s the ability to control user access in the system. That may sound rather basic, but its impact is substantial.

Essentially, this feature empowers behavioral health providers to organize and/or separate the different legs of their organization in a single platform. It’s a critical element of the software flexibility needed for tailoring solutions to a provider’s individual process.

Because separating aspects of an operation is often critical in behavioral health, we’ve explored EHR role-based security in more depth below. Read on to learn more about a few key aspects of this feature.

EHR Role-Based Security: A Closer Look

Like we hinted at already, role-based security is a little more than purely restricting access.

That’s certainly part of it, but the effect is far more dynamic. This feature allows providers to strategically define the elements of a user’s EHR experience based on their role and needs.

For example, the degree to which a user’s screen view can be configured is powered by role-based security features. In this case, the “security” element is the ability to turn on the features you need and turn off the features you don’t.

Modern EHRs are robust and feature-rich and designed with an organization’s entire operation in mind. However, the roles in a clinical environment are much more segmented than that. Depending on the role, users have a specific set of required tasks in the system.

No one is doing everything, which means that no one needs to see every feature in their interface. In fact, that’s not something we advise.

Just like it’s difficult to work at a messy desk, it’s difficult to work efficiently in a cluttered EHR.

Powerful platforms solve that issue by building specific interface configurations for each role. Typically, these role-based configurations get organized by security groups.

Security groups, and their screen views, are defined by user roles and EHR needs. Some standard behavioral health security groups are therapists, admissions, executives, clinicians, administrative, billers, and so on.

To visualize the benefit, let’s compare the screen views of a clinician and a biller.

When a clinician logs in to the system, their homepage will consist of:

Then, when they access the patient chart, the ID card will include:

  • Diagnoses
  • Basic Demographics
  • Allergies

Now, when a biller logs in to the system, their homepage will consist of:

  • Metrics of billable appointments that have been delivered
  • Unbilled vs. Billed Revenue
  • Billing Batches
  • Claim Statuses
  • Expiring Insurance Alerts

When they access the patient chart, the ID card will include:

  • Funding Source
  • Authorizations
  • Outstanding Balances
  • Statement Dates

As you can see, the biller’s view is tailored for their required financial tasks throughout a patient’s lifecycle. By presenting behavioral health billers with the software tools they need, the EHR promotes sustained financial health.

Similarly, the clinician’s view is tailored to their relevant responsibilities. By paring down their interface to their essential clinical solutions, they can treat patients as efficiently and safely as possible.

There is one instance when role-based security is useful in a security clearance perspective. It’s not uncommon for providers to take on interns for a period of time. Interns, or perhaps employees still being trained, do not need, and shouldn’t have the power to impact a lot in the system.

In these cases, it’s important to be able to restrict access of an intern-level role to avoid errors or liabilities.

EHR Software Security: Further Education

We hope you have a better understanding of this feature and its potential impact. Role-based security is one of many EHR functions that contribute to the quality of your workflows (both in your platform and at your organization).

We like to call workflows the nervous system of your software – they work in the background, automating both basic and vital functions.

Check out this blog post for more information on EHR workflows. Whereas role-based security displays a high degree of configuration for user screen views, workflows encompass the overall configurability of an EHR.

And, if you’re interested in learning more about where role-based features fall in the larger EHR security environment, read our blog about EHR security features in behavioral health software.