Do Your Research! (Part 1)
by Marisa Thompson + Leigh-Ann Renz, 1.27.18
Behavioral Health is Unique – its Practice Management is too!
All EHRs are not created equal – and this is especially true of mental health EHRs! Unfortunately, behavioral health seems to be the red-headed stepchild of the EMR world.
Mental health providers are notoriously resistant to migrate to an electronic system; and once they are ready to make the change, there are a ton of systems to weed through.
With the advent of Meaningful Use, a lot of programs were slapped together in the past six to seven years, to try and capture the federal incentive funds. Sadly, many of these systems don’t support the daily reality of the clinicians using them: they’re cumbersome at best; and mental health functionality is often an afterthought, if considered at all.
The need for efficiency, easy integration among departments, data security, and especially mental-health specific features were often sacrificed in the rush to create many programs. How can you be a smart shopper? In our humble opinion, here are the key elements that a mental health EHR should include:
Mental Health EHR Checklist
1. Authorization tracking and management which allows multiple decrement actions
For any provider whose client base isn’t entirely self-pay, authorizations are the lynchpin of your business. Without authorizations, you don’t get paid! A behavioral health EHR with a solid authorization management tool is crucial; one that allows multiple decrement actions is invaluable.
2. Easy ICD / DSM diagnosing
Although the ICD / DSM storm has passed, having access to tools that support easy diagnosis remains essential. Selecting the right code is often straightforward – but sometimes challenging. It’s better to have dependable resources and not need them than the other way around.
3. Treatment Plan that integrates with the progress notes
In PIMSY, the treatment plan is seamlessly integrated with the progress notes: you can easily pop it into the body of your note with the click of a button and then build onto it, based on what happens in session. Look for a mental health EHR that includes this functionality for ease of charting – and to efficiently provide supporting documentation for audits / payers.
4. Reporting functions for every field across the entire system
Here’s the beauty of an EHR: it should eliminate duplicate data processing. For example, instead of having to comb through a list of client records to determine who no-showed for an appointment in the past month, you should be able to simply run a report from your EHR that pulls this data from the calendar.
Any EMR you’re considering should pull information from every field across the entire system, turning practice data into usable information. It’s precisely this usability of data that makes using an EHR more efficient than paper: the information you input into any part of the system can be collated and measured easily + effectively.
5. Profile management for different levels of security for staff access
In this day and age of expensive HIPAA breaches, limiting staff to only the areas they need access to can be critical. PIMSY’s profile security lets you control exactly what your employees can see or do in the system.
For example, if you decide you don't want to allow your biller access to the client notes, you can set PIMSY to not allow it! Or, if you don't want a clinician to have access to a chart for a patient that hasn’t been assigned to them, you control that with a few clicks! PIMSY empowers you set whatever security parameters you choose.
In addition, PIMSY provides tracking for every action in the system – so if a question arises, it can tell you who performed an action and when.
6. Audit management for tracking access, changes, etc.
Similar to profile management, audit management provides real-time data about actions performed in the program. A practice can be taken down by audit complications, so having clear and reliable audit management tools is incredibly important. EHRs that offer flexibility within those management tools – so you can track exactly what you need + want to see for your payers and internal analytics - is an added bonus.
Marisa Thompson is currently PIMSY's Sales Director, but prior to taking that role, she both used PIMSY at an agency as an end-user - and then joined our Support Department as an employee. She knows PIMSY inside and out and has put it to work from every possible angle.
In addition, she is a HIPAA Privacy Officer and has extensive knowledge about HIPAA, practice management, and practice needs, from front desk to clinician. In addition to leading the Sales Team, she is regularly called upon for consultation with Marketing, Management, Development, and Support.