Benefits of Using an EMR for Substance Use
Have you considered an EMR for Substance Use at your agency? When it comes to collecting client data and documenting treatment protocols, EMRs (or Electronic Medical Records) eliminate the need for paper charts and store your organization’s data digitally. Think of them as electronic filing cabinets!
The use of an EMR for substance use treatment, such as Intensive In-Home (IIH), Day Treatment (DTx), Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) or Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP), can streamline processes, reduce the margin of error, and minimize time & redundancy when coordinating care among multiple agencies. This ultimately increases the likelihood of effective care and the efficiency of your organization.
EMRs for Substance Use: Improving Coordination
Substance use treatment organizations, who often see the effective treatment of patients occur when multiple care providers communicate and work together, can greatly benefit from having a practice management system integrated with an EMR into a single system database.
EMRs can also improve collaboration outcomes amongst multiple support teams involved in substance use treatment by providing a platform for data exchange. They facilitate an avenue to more efficiently communicate treatment options, client records, and other critical clinical information. This collaboration of support systems is key to the successful recovery of patients battling substance use and addiction.
EMR Features for Substance Use
The US Surgeon General regards EMRs as a channel to improve interoperability and monitoring – and eliminate error & fraud. For a substance use facility, an EMR can also help you rest easy, knowing that PHI is protected with encrypted processes, threat management, and encrypted communications, which is crucial to HIPPA and 42 CFR Part 2 compliance & confidentiality.
So let’s talk EMR features! Not sure what to look for? Check out our list of EMR functionality that could benefit a substance use facility offering intensive outpatient, inpatient care, day treatment, intensive in-home treatment programs or dosing clinic:
// Autofill / Data Migration
Before EMRs, both patients and providers would have to fill out paperwork with previously provided information, which can prove to be a time-consuming and inefficient procedure. With autofill functionality, information is gathered once and shared amongst the multiple care partners involved in substance use treatment.
This functionality keeps everyone on the same page, saves clients & clinicians time, and also reduces the likelihood of errors made in data entry. Additionally, this can migrate previously gathered information to new forms. While care partners may still review this data with clients to make sure it’s up to date and still applicable, it takes far less time than having to re-enter the information. This gives those involved in a client’s treatment more time to focus on delivering effective treatment.
// Service Activity Logs (SAL)
This scheduling feature details user activity and appointments, making it quick and easy to manage clients. You can assign bill codes, assign rooms, set recurring appointments, pull up any forms that might need to be signed, and take payments.
EMR note management capabilities allow the sharing of treatment plans, medication authorization, progress notes, incident reports, and assessments. A standard EMR will offer a baseline of templates for both assessment and progress notes. Does your organization offer group therapy? Be sure to look for a program that supports group notes. How about team notes? If multiple clinicians will be contributing to a single treatment session, try to secure a substance use EMR that offers team notes.
If you run an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), you and your patients will likely benefit from telehealth, is a HIPPA-compliant videoconferencing capability. Telehealth is a platform that links patients with practitioners via videoconferencing and eases the burden of cost, location, and/or transportation for check-ins and follow-ups.
// Client Portal
In the client portal, you can assign assessments for a client to take or have patients fill out forms before they even arrive for their first visit. They can access their receipts, be notified of appointment alerts, and confirm appointments. A patient portal also empowers your clients to update basic information, such as changes in demographics or insurance.
What else should you consider in a Substance Use EMR?
Aside from the functionality already discussed, your agency might additionally benefit from robust electronic billing, accountability tools for clinicians, or reporting features. If your EMR can actually customize reports for you, even better! At the very least, an EMR should save time, streamline data entry, and make your organization more efficient & effective to better serve your clients.