7 Must-Have Features for Behavioral Health EHR
Medical practices, small and large, rely on electronic health records or EHR software to help them keep track of patient data and spot overall trends in the population they serve. For those healthcare providers working in the area of behavioral health, a behavioral health EHR application is indispensable.
The last thing you would want to saddle your staff with would be a generic EHR application that you have failed to customize. Instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, a better option is to source a dedicated behavioral health EHR software developer with a great track record in maintaining and updating its application.
Before committing to the software you’ll be using, here are six must-have features for behavioral health EHR to keep top of mind.
1. Telehealth Capability for Behavioral Health EHR
The novel coronavirus causing COVID-19 infections has put the global population through enormous stress. Clearly, this is having an ongoing deleterious effect on behavioral health patients. In order to meet with patients even during lockdowns and shelter-in-place orders, BH professionals began using telehealth systems to conduct virtual patient encounters.
Telehealth sessions are here to stay, so your behavioral health EHR should include a capability for these virtual sessions to keep your staff and patients as healthy as possible during communicable disease outbreaks.
2. Robust Security
The turmoil that would be unleashed if computer criminals hacked into your system is difficult to estimate, but suffice it to say, your practice’s reputation would be ruined, and you would face damages from all of the patients’ files and sensitive data exposed by hackers. This is why it’s essential that your BH EHR is built with the latest and strongest security features in use today.
3. Behavioral Health EHR Developer Provides Regular Software Updates
Your practice does not want to get stuck with behavioral health EHR software from a developer that lags behind when it comes to updating the code. Security issues are always a potential danger, so the software needs ongoing upgrades to keep up against hacker assaults. And the EHR for your BH patients must keep up with industry and government regulations so you can remain compliant, following the spirit as well as the letter of the law.
4. Compliance With Latest Government Regulations
When sharing data with different providers as you take care of one behavioral health patient, you will naturally be sharing plenty of sensitive data.
For example, you may send your patient to be checked out for hypertension or diabetes since about 65% of BH patients have underlying chronic conditions that need simultaneous care. There is always the possibility that you will refer BH patients to a neurology specialist or an internal medicine doctor. So, the software should meet the standards of HL7, which stands for Health Seven International and is a worldwide recognized standard for maintaining safety while exchanging patient data.
Your behavioral health EHR setup should therefore be designed and updated to always be compliant with the nation’s mandates.
5. BH-Appropriate Data Fields, Forms, and Documentation
Your team has to be meticulous about the documentation it generates, updates, and stores for each patient. So, your software should definitely include behavioral health data-appropriate fields for third-party providers and accreditation agencies to use in their assessments of your practice and its actions.
There are going to be differences in the type of data and documentation that you must provide to a psychiatrist compared to forms that need to go to a community treatment facility or psychosocial rehabilitation professional.
6. Multiple-provider Access to Patient Files in Real-Time
As noted, many healthcare providers can be involved in treating a single BH patient. Accordingly, the behavioral health EHR software that you rely on should allow for multiple providers to access the records. The information needs to be live and constantly updated for this to be useful for the different staff members.
For many healthcare providers in the BH space, it’s a good idea to have a cloud computing component in their EHR software, so everyone can easily access it using an internet-connected device.
7. Fast and Efficient Laboratory Orders and Electronic Prescriptions
You don’t want to make staff wait for long for a patient to get tests done at the laboratory. So a built-in feature for lab orders should be a part of the behavioral health EHR you select. Furthermore, it’s not good to make patients wait for the pharmacy to fill their medication orders. The BH electronic health record application needs to allow your doctors to generate electronic prescriptions.
These go directly to the pharmacy, with no need for patients to hand in a paper prescription and wait for it to be filled. The pharmacy can fill the order while the patient travels from the BH doctor’s office.
No Time Like Now to Take Advantage of the Latest in Behavioral Health EHR Software
If your BH practice is working without the benefit of a solid behavioral health EHR system, using just a generic form of electronic health records, you’re doing your team as well as your patients a disservice.
It’s best to use the most appropriate tools for the job, meaning software specifically designed to address the needs of BH professionals. Being aware of these must-have features in selecting what behavioral health EHR software is a necessary starting point. But if you have questions about deploying or using a BH-focused EHR, get in touch with us today for assistance.
About Christina Rosario
Christina Rosario is the Director of Sales and Marketing at Advanced Data Systems Corporation, a leading provider of healthcare IT solutions for medical practices and billing companies. When she's not helping ADS clients boost productivity and profitability, she can be found browsing travel websites, shopping in NYC, and spending time with her family.