Behavioral Health EMR, Part 2: Challenges and Solutions of Behavioral Health EMR
The two biggest obstacles to successful implementation of Behavioral Health EMR are 1) finding the system that works best for your agency; and 2) getting your staff to “buy-in” to changing systems.
Finding the Right Behavioral Health EMR
Every practice is different, with unique needs and pain points. Additionally, every Behavioral Health EMR is different in what it offers and how it works.
Finding the right match between your needs and the system that best satisfies them can be incredibly challenging. This isn’t the type of purchase where you just return the item to the store if it doesn’t fit.
Making the switch to a Practice Management System - whether you’re coming off of paper or upgrading from an outdated system – is an investment in time and energy. You'll want to repeat that type of transition as little as possible, and ideally you implement a program that grows with your practice from the start.
Purchase of a Behavioral Health EMR warrants thorough research. Hopefully, the time and energy investment of identifying your agency needs, and finding a correlating product that meets them, pays off in a system that serves you for at least five years, if not longer. Many practices are forced to change systems at least once due to outgrowing their original choice. Taking the extra time to meticulously research the options can save you significant resources down the road.
Getting Your Staff to “Buy-In” to Behavioral Health EMR
The reason that getting your staff to support changing systems is so challenging is that the process itself is so daunting. Change is hard, and when you consider all of the aspects involved in switching from paper – or another Behavioral Health EMR – it can be overwhelming for your team.
They have to not only change every aspect of their current processes, they also have to ensure that the current method of doing business remains in place for practice viability. Clients must continue to be seen and reimbursements must continue to be processed, as well as everything else in between. Employees have to keep up with their day-to-day jobs while first learning - and then implementing - a new foundation, framework, and workflow!
With this formidable investment of time, energy and resources, it’s important to do everything possible to smooth the way. Identify key members of each of your teams (front desk, clinician, biller, management / compliance), and involve them in the process: determine their unique challenges, and do your best to find a system that successfully addresses as many of them as possible.
Provide employees with the best resources possible: secure first-class training on the new system; hire temporary staff so they can focus on the system changeover; offer rewards and recognition to those who most efficiently complete the transition process. Task those key staff members with spearheading the implementation of the system: have them get the other employees in their departments onboard.
Forcing staff onto a system they feel doesn't address their needs - or not providing them with the right tools to complete the transition - can cost your practice in the long run, both revenue in the form of productivity and morale in the form of disgruntled employees or high turnover. You don't want your team feeling like they've been forced onto a program against their consent or without their input.
Getting your team to embrace the switch dramatically increases the chance of a successful Behavioral Health EMR implementation. Doing everything possible to ensure that the system you’re asking them to implement meets their individual department pain points paves the way for an efficient EMR Return On Investment (ROI).
Take Away: Behavioral Health EMR
Preferably, a Behavioral Health EMR should provide not only increased data security – which reduces risk of failed audit or breached records – it should also save you time & money by streamlining agency practices. Ideally, a Behavioral Health EMR pays for itself. The more successfully you can transition systems, the quicker you’ll reap the rewards of Behavioral Health EMR, both in enhanced patient care and effective ROI.
More Information About Behavioral Health EMR
Check out the following tools and resources to overcome Behavioral Health EMR challenges and finding the right system for your agency:
Behavioral Health EMR, Part 1: Definition & Benefits
7 Steps to Finding the Right EHR for your practice (see form on the right of the linked page)
How Much Is It Costing You to Stay on Paper?
Software Shopping Tips
EMR Resource Center
Mental Health EHR
Behavioral Health EHR
Mental Health Practice Management
Behavioral Health Practice Management