How Electronic Behavioral Health Records Benefit the Patient

When choosing an EHR, much of the discussion surrounds how it will benefit the organization.  But what does a Behavioral Health EHR provide for the patient?

  • Improved behavioral health care.  EHRs help staff make the best clinical decisions about how to treat patients.  For example, treatment plans will be outcome-based and measurable to determine if the patient is improving.  No longer will sheets of paper with illegible handwriting be used to drive a patient’s care.  The EHR will assure the patient is receiving care that utilizes best practice methods for providing care.
  • Improved patient safety.  Oftentimes, patient safety is not given enough attention by staff.  The EHR forces staff to make sure the patient is receiving the correct medication; all allergies are recorded and alert the prescriber to assure there are no negative interactions.  Additionally, the EHR utilizes bar codes to make the sure the correct patient is receiving the correct medication.
  • Quicker access to patient files/history.  Many programs are still relying on paper and have large rooms and staff dedicated to pulling charts and putting them away. Moving to an EHR allows staff to pull information quickly while reducing costs for these types of tasks. It also frees up more office space that can be re-purposed for other uses.
  • Improved coordination of care.  Electronic health records will make it easier for therapists and doctors to coordinate care.  In an integrated care program, the EHR allows the doctor and therapist to compare notes, develop a care plan, track medication, and communicate more effectively with the patient.
  • Streamline operations. An EHR will take the organization paperless and allow billing to be completed at the time the service is provided. It takes away the need to chase down charts, fill out forms, and allows all staff to be more prepared to assist patients.
  • Increase oversight of care. One of the greatest challenges in providing quality treatment is the oversight of what is being provided to patients. With an EHR, the delivery of care can be monitored, allowing the agency to assure the quality and the use of best practice for treatment.
  • Improved billing process and financial stability. When an agency’s financial and clinical system is on the same platform, you enable better charge capture throughout your organization.  A service is provided; the clinician inputs the billing information, migrates to the billing engine, then the claim is scrubbed and submitted for payment.  The billing is no longer going through three sets of hands before being sent to the insurance company.
  • Position your agency for long term success. Ultimately, all agencies will implement EHR technology.  It is where behavioral is going, and it has government support.  Any organization that does not make the decision to purchase an EHR will not be around in five years.  You can’t stop progress, and you cannot stop EHRs.
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