Does your EHR have what it takes? As behavioral health professionals, we want what is best for our patients. And as you know, it’s often the case that what’s best for our patients is something that they may not interact with every day. We’re talking about your Electronic Health Record (EHR). This behind-the-scenes player has become a powerhouse in the medical, behavioral health, addiction treatment and human services field, helping facilities run better and more efficiently. The best EHR for behavioral health can change your life—and the lives of your patients. The wrong EHR, however, can have a negative impact on workflows, effective time management, employee satisfaction, best practices, funding and finances, and most important--the patient. The six features of a highly effective and best EHR for behavioral health: When looking for an EHR for behavioral health, there are many features that you should consider taking advantage of when it comes to the latest developments in technology and finding a platform that fully meets your facility’s needs. We’ve outlined the six most important ones below. Clinical features: Having the right lineup of clinical features is essential to getting the best EHR for behavioral health. Be sure to look for an EHR with the following: Documentation suite - All EHRs have some version of a documentation suite, but not all are optimized to be the most functional and efficient. Choose an EHR that has specialized documentation tools, such as auto-population and intuitive logic that guides the user through the documentation process. Another way to tell if you’re getting the EHR with the best documentation suite is if it delivers a single solution that shares mission critical information across the entire enterprise in real-time. This feature is a must, providing intelligent and seamless support at the time of decision. Dashboard - A dashboard can be so much more than a dashboard. You deserve an EHR with intelligently designed reporting consoles that allow clinicians to utilize visualization of a given patient based on multiple treatment factors. A good dashboard will also allow you access to composite scoring and other tools that deliver decision support capabilities—all at a glance, all right on your dashboard. Care coordination - Care coordination features valuable material for clinical uses. Care coordination can help manage your clients, contacts, and alumni within a software platform. Automated workflow, system alerts, and notifications enable treatment team members to follow and or be alerted based on specified criteria. Mobility - What about accessing your EHR software away from your desk, perhaps securely from your phone or tablet? Well, mobility should hardly be an issue in this day and age, but guess what? It still is. The best EHR will offer secure mobility and include other tools that enhance the user experience and improve treatment outcomes. Spoiler alert: This isn’t the last you’ll hear of mobility in this post! Medical features: The best EHR for behavioral health will take into consideration essential medical features. Mobility and a solid documentation suite are essential here (see above), in addition to: Order management - Medications, lab orders, results, patient vital signs, and so much more: You have a lot to keep track of for each patient you see. Simplify all of it while reducing your risk of human error with a stellar order management tool. The best EHR for behavioral health will help you and your staff easily manage medications, lab orders and results, caloric intake, and vital signs, along with a wide set of other data points. Even better? It’s all in a centralized suite designed specifically for inpatient medical teams. A high-functioning order management system provides users with the ability to view and collect assessment information, vitals, medication administration and other tasks directly from one screen. This saves you time and reduces the chance for user error. Your EHR’s order management system should also have your back, so to speak. Look for software that provides all mission critical information as well as automated alerts, early-detection warnings, and other decision support tools to improve care coordination and treatment outcomes. Care coordination - Your patients are valuable, and so is your time. The best EHR for behavioral health will include intelligent care coordination tools. These support instant messaging, secure messaging, and other forms of alerts and notifications. Care coordination helps you make sure your treatment team members are enabled and empowered to follow and or be alerted based on specified criteria. Financial features: How could we forget about financial considerations? You can’t help your patients if your facility doesn’t manage its financial resources responsibly. A good EHR will have features that help you with billing, reporting, and more. Revenue cycle management - Your EHR should include both revenue cycle management (RCM) and billing features. This enables you to use one software solution to effectively and efficiently manage a complete continuum of care. You can electronically maintain and track third party financial agreements including address, contact information, contracted rates, and co-pays for treatment services. A good RCM tool will give you access to funding source information, including self-pay and insurance information, rates, required claim form type, and benefits information. It should also help you manage payer authorizations and apply billing rules to streamline claim generation and validation. Real time solutions - Look for a billing module that enables you to track claims in real time. This should also include real-time of year-to-year performance reports with just the click of a mouse. Efficiency - Don’t spend more time than you need to getting paid and tracking finances. The best EHR for behavioral health should be able to: · Complete clearinghouse integration with Claim Status tracking and 835 Electronic Remittance processing.
The often-misunderstood treatment that’s gaining traction All too often, the mention of “art therapy” evokes crayons, scissors, and glue. It’s been relegated, in the minds of the general population, to the same domain as “retail therapy” and other unhelpful coping mechanisms for those who aren’t really serious about treatment. Art therapy is indulgent, kiddie stuff, says pop culture; it’s not actually useful, right?
All about “Political depression” We’re mere days away from what some people are calling the most important election of our lifetime. The 2018 midterms are upon us, and if you haven’t been called, texted, or Facebook messaged about the importance of your vote, you might want to check if you still have a pulse. Politics can urge us to be our best selves, fighting for what we think is right, but whether we consider ourselves political or not, we are all susceptible to what experts are calling “political depression.”
The role of socioeconomic status on your diagnosis There is a wryly serious Anne Enright quote about pregnancy in her book of essays, Making Babies. In it, Enright takes into account all the ways a woman could harm or help her unborn child while pregnant. She refers to the rule-makers as "the womb police." Ultimately, though, she gets to the root cause and predictor of a person's lifetime of good or bad health. She says that the people who claim to know what's best for fetal development would be better off standing in the outpatient rooms of hospitals and shout, "Stop being poor!" Because, says Enright, "poverty is what damages the developing fetus more than anything else." It's a sobering jab at the current state of healthcare--both mental and physical. And the "don't be poor" directive is borne out time and time again. We recently found an article that suggests that poverty also insidiously informs a child's diagnosis: If he's middle to upper class, he clearly has an autism spectrum disorder. If he's poor, it's ADHD. And why might that be? This ADHD awareness month, we're looking at the nuances of this diagnosis. ADHD has a stigma attached to it that's different from autism. The autistic child may be a "trapped genius," after all--a piano virtuoso or a chess grandmaster. The ADHD child is seen as simply a nuisance who can't control his behavior. Of course we know these things are not true, but, as with so many other issues of class, the wealthy get a more sanitized, easier-to-swallow, and somehow more socially acceptable verdict. The poor get blamed and a feeling of "this is your fault." The best resource we've found on the question of ADHD vs autism is here. It's a straightforward chart that's devoid of classist assumptions or judgements. While this is certainly an issue for children's diagnosis, we have to wonder if socioeconomic status plays a role in the diagnosis and treatment of mental health. Surely, implicit bias would have us believe that is does. That homeless person out on the corner, yelling at no one? Well, she must be crazy. But the executive who has a breakdown in the boardroom? He's overworked, overtired, and needs a month off to rest. We are honored to work with groups who, every day, help break down barriers. Access to care isn't perfect, but it's getting better. There are more degrees to a diagnosis, more factors that we consider beyond rich or poor. Every day, the tactics we use to help those struggling with behavioral health or addiction issues gets tuned a bit more finely. We have a ways to go, but we are getting there, and Sigmund Software is proud to be your partner on this journey.
Essential reforms are still needed to save lives We were thrilled to see a longtime client and colleague featured on The Hill recently. We were even more thrilled to read the article.