Are you a large behavioral health or addiction treatment organization in the market for an electronic health record (EHR) software? Maybe this is your first time researching EHRs, or you are looking for a new one to better suit the size of your operation.
After 20 years in the industry, we have found that different sized behavioral health facilities may require very different elements of an EHR to meet their specific needs.
This article outlines the behavioral health EHR software and services that are crucial to running a treatment organization.
1) Intuitive and Consolidated Platform
Time is of the essence in any health care environment.
In the case of large organizations that employ a large staff and a high patient load, time is even more precious.
Look for an EHR that is suited to accommodate the realities of large organizations. Managing the diversification and growth of substantial operations can put a strain on lesser platforms.
For example, a user-friendly EHR goes a long way to solving staff turnover setbacks and facilitating the on boarding of new hires.
Your large behavioral health organization needs an EHR that automates and consolidates the tasks of your users as much as possible.
Workflows are the lifeblood of a dynamic EHR.
Workflows mobilize your data, automating processes that used to be handled manually so that staff has the freedom to focus on the most pressing matters at hand.
Here are a few ways workflows can keep a large facility running smoothly and efficiently:
- Eliminates the need for double entry of patient information
- Presents critical information and decision support to care providers through real-time alerts and notifications during treatment
- Automates financial tasks for the billing staff, such as processing, scrubbing, reviewing and batching claims
Be mindful that certain EHRs offer greater flexibility in their workflows than others.
In the case of a large facility, a high degree of configuration is not just preferred, it is often necessary to sustain efficiency across the board.
In this way, the most effective EHRs are able to incorporate the unique nuances of a large operation.
EHR automation is absolutely crucial for keeping a large operation efficient and effective. However, there are some tasks that cannot be fully automated in an EHR.
No matter the platform, users will still be responsible for navigating the EHR autonomously to complete certain tasks.
Quality EHRs consolidate the ground that users have to cover in the system by cutting down on the number of clicks required to complete tasks.
Platforms that actively combat click fatigue with an intuitive design increases the overall efficiency of an operation and cuts down on staff burnout.
2) Required Functionality
It is important to consider the software solutions necessary to not just satisfy, but optimize your operation’s required functions.
Consider the degree to which your organization needs an EHR to support and automate the following aspects:
The bigger the patient load, the more of a need there is to engage your patients through a secure patient portal.
Effective EHRs should offer the ability to interact with patients securely to complete important treatment aspects.
For example, a quality patient portal can allow patients to:
- Make payments and view statements
- Provide access to designated family members
- Deliver necessary documentation
- Schedule appointments
- View lab results
- Communicate directly with clinical staff
Revenue Cycle Management
An EHR with Revenue Cycle Management (RCM) capabilities is crucial to operations of this size. Large organizations need such a platform in order to preserve financial health and consistently secure the funds and resources to provide a high quality of care.
Some EHRs provide their own RCM software, while others offer clean integration with third party services. Either way, an RCM tool of some kind is critical.
A powerful RCM can free up the clinical team to focus on treatment and empower the financial staff with effective and automated technology.
Larger behavioral health operations, especially ones that run multiple sites or span multiple states, generate a great deal of bills and insurance claims. An effective RCM can assist a facility in automating healthy billing and navigating complicated regulations.
In an increasingly digital and fast paced industry, mobile access to comprehensive health information is more important than ever to accommodate, and retain, a substantial patient load.
EHRs that provide actionable and productive mobile access to patients and their support network is a great way to streamline the lifecycle of each patient.
Here are a few ways that engaging patients allows them to participate in their treatment remotely, thus reducing the workload on staff:
- Send links to their phone for instant access to documentation
- Secure video chatting
- Administer and collect surveys
- Pay a bill
- Change/Update demographic information
As much as a patient can move their treatment along remotely, the better.
As a result, waiting rooms will be less crowded because patients no longer have to come in to the office to complete minor, yet required treatment aspects.
Mobility will continue to be a feature that is sought after, and is an area that can set your facility apart from the crowd. Modernized mobile access has not become a fully realized standard across the industry.
Though most health care facilities provide some form of mobile access, the usability and capability can still vary greatly.
Highly functional mobile access is a great boost to patient satisfaction.
4) Security Features
Larger organizations, especially those with multiple levels of care, need an EHR that can assign a wide range of security clearances to different employees.
To preserve the utmost security to patient information, an effective EHR will contain role-based security features. This functionality gives users the ability to control the access that certain staff have to patient data and the changes they can make to that information based on their role.
This way, no one has access to any information they are not permitted to view.
In the case of large facilities with extensive patient loads, the opportunity for breaches in security are much bigger. Thus, role-based security features are crucial.
A large behavioral health facility needs experienced and responsive support.
At this size, technological issues with an EHR can cause extended periods of downtime, thus halting a variety of treatment functions.
As a result, first look for a support package that offers 365/24/7 support services. Each employee working each shift should receive the same level of support when problems arise.
Ideally, an EHR will offer an in-house support team that are experts on their specific platform. This approach promotes the quick and painless resolution of technological problems.
The alternative would be external support, which is often internationally based.
These third-party, international support employees may not have much of an idea of a facility’s processes or industry, which can result in lesser assistance in your time of need.
6) Compliance Features
The larger the organization, the chances are they must comply with a wide range of requirements and guidelines from a variety of organizations. Effective EHRs facilitate compliance in two ways:
- Facilitating compliance procedures by automatically generating documentation and sending real-time alerts/messages
- Powerful reporting tools to provide relevant information during audits
Behavioral Health EHR Software at Sigmund
We hope you have a better idea of the type of EHR software that large behavioral health providers need for success.
If you are looking for a new software solution, check out this blog post blog that discusses how to choose the right software solution for your operation.
AURA, Sigmund’s enterprise software solution, currently serves a variety of large scale mental health and addiction treatment organizations. We are very proud that our system can comfortably meet the complex and diversified needs of the most demanding EHR environments.
If you want to learn more about how AURA can serve your operation, speak to one of our knowledgable professionals today! And if you’re curious to see how AURA can seamlessly fit your large operation, schedule a demo here!