EHR and practice management for mental / behavioral health
mental health software should be different

What Makes Mental Health Software Different?

Let’s be honest: mental and behavioral health are their own animal. While integrated care is promising advancements in the treatment of the whole client – and science continues to affirm the innate, often inexplicable, connection between the body and mind – the format in which mental health treatment is administered is different than general medicine. This means that an efficient mental health software / EHR should support the protocols unique to your field:

Authorization Management

General medicine doesn’t usually prescribe treatment in approved batches, with a limit on how many sessions total are allowed, but freedom to utilize the approved sessions when desired or as needed. Any software you choose should offer comprehensive authorization management to address this format, unique to mental health.

For example, some EHRs will send you reminder alerts when a certain number of sessions remain – and / or as you approach the expiration date. They will also prevent a clinician from releasing a note with an expired authorization code, ensuring that you only bill for approved sessions.


Because mental and behavioral health treatments encompass many disabilities, assessment tools like WHODAS can be a requirement in our field. Having a mental health software with integrated, electronic WHODAS can be invaluable – and may affect reimbursements – depending on how it is utilized.

Group & Team Notes

Many EHRs don’t offer group and/or team notesIf you employ these in your agency – or plan on doing so in the future – secure a mental health software that supports these session formats.

Note Formatting mental health software is different

Our industry typically produces more nuanced notes than general medicine. There are often varying degrees of note styles with different criteria, depending on diagnosis – versus click off check boxes with just a few free-form notes (the format often standard at the doctor’s office).

Depending on what type of services you offer and what format of notes you typically use (and the variety thereof), ensuring that you have access to the session note formats you need may be a deal breaker in the type of EHR you select. Be sure to check out the available options for any systems you consider – and ask to see them in action during the demo.

Treatment Planning

Many types of general medicine don’t include treatment plans, and one way that mental health software systems differ from general EHR is that they should offer integrated treatment planning.

Ideally, treatment plans interface seamlessly with the notes so that the clinician can easily pull the goals and objectives up into the body of the note for each session. Not only does this enhance client care, it can also be integral to receiving maximum reimbursements, depending on the supporting documentation requirements of your payers.

Extensive Standard Evaluations

Mental health often has its own nuanced standard evaluations that can be quite extensive, such as ABEL or ASAM. The physical evaluations of general medicine are often reported via separate test results – or, when reported within the session data, tend to be more concise because they’re based on concrete factors that are typically easier to measure.

Behavioral health is unique in that the evaluations often aren’t clear cut, take longer to administer, and may require extensive testing. This is true even in agencies that rely more heavily on medical testing & tracking, such as substance use or eating disorder treatment. You’ll want to select a mental health software that supports more detailed evaluations, with the option to customize them to your needs.

Take Away

While it might be tempting to try and stretch a one-size-fits-all EHR around your organization’s needs, there are reasons that specific mental health software systems exist. Behavioral health (including inpatient services, IOP, and substance abuse treatment) have unique protocols that deserve integrated, tailored solutions.

Manual work-arounds to patch together your agency needs diminishes the ultimate purpose of EHRs: to increase efficiency, maximize payer reimbursements, and enhance client care.

To see how PIMSY EHR meets every one of the criteria outlined above, contact us: 877.334.8512, ext 1 –

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.

Author: pehradmin

Author: pehradmin

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