EHR and practice management for mental / behavioral health

Mental Health EHR Software > Do Your Research! (Part 1)

Behavioral Health is Unique – Mental Health EHR Software Should Be Too!

All EHRs are not created equal – and this is especially true of mental health EHR software. Unfortunately, behavioral health seems to be the red-mental-health-EHR-software-do-your-research-part-1headed stepchild of the EHR software world. With the advent of Meaningful Use, a lot of mental health EHRs were slapped together in the past decade, 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 behavioral 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? How can you filter through the plethora of programs available and find those that might truly serve your agency? In our humble opinion, here are the key elements that a mental health EHR software should include:

Mental Health EHR Software Checklist

1. authorization tracking and management that 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-10 / DSM-5 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 some programs, 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 system 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 software that pulls this data from the calendar.

Any EHR 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 put into any part of the system can be collated & measured easily and 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. Some programs offer profile security, which 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 the software 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. Ideally, your mental health EHR software empowers you to set whatever security parameters you choose.

Some programs even provide tracking for every action in the software – so if a question arises, the program can tell you who performed a particular action and when. This can be invaluable during audits and helps maintain HIPAA compliance.

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 and want to see for your payers and internal analytics – is an added bonus.

To see how PIMSY fulfills every single one of these items, contact us: 877.334.8512, ext 1 – 



Marisa Thompson

Marisa Thompson

Marisa 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.

She is a HIPAA Privacy Officer and has extensive knowledge about HIPAA, practice management, and agency 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.

Leigh-Ann Renz

Leigh-Ann Renz

Leigh-Ann Renz is the Marketing & Business Development Director of PIMSY EHR. For more information about electronic solutions for your practice, check out Mental Health EHR.

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