The term behavioral health is used to indicate the connection between a person’s behavior and their mental and physical well-being. To be precise, it mostly indicates how a person’s habits affect them. Activities like eating, drinking, or engaging in addictive activities like gambling or substance abuse impact a person’s overall health and state of mind. Examples of behavioral health problems include eating disorders and addiction to smoking, drinking, narcotics, or gambling. Behavioral health EMR enables rehabilitation centers to treat these disorders and improve lives.
Rehabilitation centers use behavioral health EHR software to coordinate activities for empowering patients to give up harmful habits. As the United States grapples with a substance abuse epidemic, providers and policymakers struggle to find solutions. So, it should not surprise that the American behavioral health EHR software market is experiencing steady growth. We will explore the role of EMR in behavioral health in detail.
Features Of A Behavioral Health EMR Software
A digital platform for medical records at mental and behavioral care institutions improves patient management efficiency. Whether an organization offers inpatient or outpatient treatment, the EHR systems they use must have certain features –
1. Therapy Notes
Listening to patients and taking notes is integral to mental and behavioral therapy. A feature that allows therapists to make notes and upload them directly to the behavioral health EMR software simplifies the process. Storing and accessing therapy notes helps caregivers manage a larger patient population better.
If an EMR for behavioral health with this feature is integrated with telehealth solutions, therapists can offer impactful care remotely. When each patient’s therapy notes are stored securely in one place, accessing them and directing the rehabilitation process becomes easier.
2. Remote Therapy
This is one of the biggest advantages of telehealth adoption by the healthcare industry. A single therapist can offer their services remotely to multiple patients, each at a different location. The ability to offer counseling virtually is a great way to make up for the country’s shortage of mental and behavioral care providers.
People can log in securely to a portal and have virtual therapy sessions from the privacy of their homes. Remote therapy increases access to behavioral health care and encourages more people to seek help. Furthermore, it facilitates remote patient monitoring by allowing patients to share their medical data remotely.
Whether it is conventional medical care or behavioral care, charting is something that all providers must carry out. That involves entering patient information, updating treatment details, noting progress, medications, patient response to treatment, etc. Without this feature, providers would have to manually enter all the data into the electronic medical records for behavioral health.
This feature provides custom templates and other functions like dictation for accelerating the data entry process. This also displays all the information about patients on a single dashboard. Keeping patient records up-to-date makes it easier to manage a larger patient population.
A behavioral health EMR makes it easy for therapists to prescribe the right drug for their patients. Since the EMR contains all the relevant medical information, doctors can view each patient’s health history. They can also determine which medication is covered by health plans and prescribe it accordingly.
Patient histories indicate if a person is allergic to anything or has had any adverse reaction to a drug. Furthermore, this feature also allows providers to send prescriptions directly to the pharmacy, removing the need for physical papers.
5. Patient Portal
Patient portals allow people to view their medical information online securely. Moreover, they can also schedule appointments online, cancel them, and reschedule them again in minutes. In addition to being useful tools for patient engagement, patient portals also serve as mediums to boost doctor-patient rapport.
This feature allows people to track their progress and be more involved in their care. Some behavioral health EHR software types also feature patient portals with an online payment option.
This is one of the most desirable features an EMR for behavioral health can have. The integration allows it to exchange data with other medical software like practice management and home health care solutions. Integration is possible through a specialized bridging software called Application Programming Interface (API). These allow two software platforms developed from different programming languages and having different data formats to exchange information without hassle.
Behavior health EMR or EHR integration lets a therapist view patient history during a virtual consultation, prescribe medication online, and bill for services from one interface. Seamless data exchange among platforms leads to one consolidated platform to manage care.
Benefits Of Using EMR For Behavioral Health
Using EMR software for mental health and behavioral care provides centralized storage for patient information. Moreover, it also serves as a useful administrative tool for clinical and non-clinical activities through integration. Let’s talk about all the advantages of using a behavioral health EMR software platform –
1. Efficient Management
Larger behavioral and mental health care organizations deal with many inpatients and outpatients simultaneously. Each would’ve sought help for problems such as drug addiction, gambling addiction, eating disorders, etc. Moreover, all patients are bound to have different medical histories with varying responses to medications and allergies.
An EMR behavioral health software provides centralized access to all relevant patient data and payment histories. This facilitates greater convenience and efficiency for care management and day-to-day administration.
2. Regulatory Compliance
Government regulations like HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Affordability Act) and MHPAEA (Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act) stipulate protocols when it comes to healthcare. These rules could pertain to data security or benefits offered, among others.
Using an EMR or EHR for mental health providers helps medical organizations adhere to the regulations better. It makes establishing and following protocols for ensuring compliance and avoiding liability easier.
3. Improved Patient Experience
People suffering from substance abuse and addictions often require an elaborate treatment plan. This applies to people receiving both inpatient and outpatient care. An EMR for behavioral health integrated with other medical software lets providers plan treatments better and helps patients be more involved. Booking appointments anytime, viewing one’s health records, and requesting prescription refills improve the patients’ overall experience.
Mental and behavioral health are becoming major health crises in the United States. Tens of millions of American adults have reported to be suffering from at least one such illness. The growing costs of healthcare also don’t help with the situation. But the presence of behavioral health EHR software paves the way for adopting and implementing novel solutions to address these challenges.
As the market for behavioral health EMR grows this decade, the ecosystem is ripe for innovations. These are touted to reduce inequities and help contain the growing public health problem of mental and behavioral illness.
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Written by Riken Shah linkedin
Riken's work motto is to help healthcare providers use technological advancements to make healthcare easily accessible to all stakeholders, from providers to patients. Under his leadership and guidance, OSP Labs has successfully developed over 600 customized software solutions for 200+ healthcare clients across continents.