By: Cory Valentine on January 17th, 2020

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6 EHR Tools Central to the Success of Large Behavioral Health Facilities

Are you a large behavioral health or addiction treatment center in the market for an electronic health record (EHR) software? Maybe this is your first time researching for an EHR, or you are looking for a new one to better suit the size of your operation.

After 15 years in the industry, we have found that different sized behavioral health facilities may require very different elements of an EHR to meet their specific needs.

This article outlines the EHR features and services that are crucial to running a large behavioral health and addiction organization.

Intuitive and Consolidated Platform

Time is of the essence in any health care environment. In the case of large facilities that employ a large staff and treat a high number of patients, time is even more precious.

Look for an EHR that is suited to accommodate the realities of large organizations. Managing the diversification and growth of substantial operations can put a strain on lesser platforms.

For example, an easy to use EHR goes a long way to solving staff turnover setbacks and facilitating the on boarding of new hires.

Your large behavioral health facility needs an EHR that automates and consolidates the tasks of your users as much as possible.

Automation

Workflows are the lifeblood of a dynamic EHR. Workflows mobilize your data, automating processes that used to be handled manually so that staff has the freedom to focus on the most pressing matters at hand.

Here are a few ways workflows can keep a large facility running smoothly and efficiently:

  • Eliminates the need for double entry of patient information
  • Presents critical information and decision support to care providers through real-time alerts and notifications during treatment
  • Automates financial tasks for the billing staff, such as processing, scrubbing, reviewing and batching claims

Be mindful that certain EHRs offer greater customization of their workflows than others.

In the case of a large facility, a high degree of customization is not just preferred, it is often necessary to sustain efficiency across the board.

The most effective EHRs are able to incorporate the unique nuances of a large operation.

Consolidation

EHR automation is absolutely crucial to keeping a large facility efficient and effective. However, there are some tasks that cannot be fully automated in an EHR.

No matter the platform, users will still be responsible for navigating the EHR autonomously to complete certain tasks.

The most effective EHRs consolidate the ground that users have to cover in the system by cutting down on the number of clicks required to complete tasks.

Platforms that actively combat click fatigue with an intuitive design increases the overall efficiency of an operation and cuts down on staff irritation.

Required Functionality

As a larger behavioral health facility, it is important to consider the software solutions necessary to not just satisfy, but optimize your operation’s required functions.

Consider the degree to which your facility needs an EHR to support and automate the following aspects:

Patient Engagement

The bigger your patient load, the more of a need there is to engage your patients through a secure patient portal.

Effective EHRs can offer the ability to interact with patients securely to complete important treatment aspects.

For example, a quality patient portal can allow patients to:

  • Make payments and view statements
  • Provide access to designated family members
  • Deliver necessary documentation
  • Schedule appointments
  • View lab results
  • Communicate directly with clinical staff

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Revenue Cycle Management

An RCM is crucial to operations of this size in order to preserve financial health and consistently secure the funds and resources to provide a high quality of care.

Some EHRs provide their own RCM software, while others offer clean integration with third party services. Either way, an RCM tool of some kind is critical.

A powerful RCM can free up the clinical team to focus on treatment and empower the financial staff with effective and automated technology.

Larger behavioral health operations, especially ones that run multiple sites or span multiple states, generate a great deal of bills and insurance claims.

An effective RCM can assist a facility in automating healthy billing and navigating complicated regulations.

Mobility

In an increasingly digital and fast paced industry, mobile access to comprehensive health information is more important than ever to accommodate, and retain, a substantial patient load.

EHRs that provide actionable and productive mobile access to patients and their support network is a great way to streamline the lifecycle of each patient.

Here are a few ways that engaging patients allows them to participate in their treatment remotely, thus reducing the workload on staff:

  • Send links to their phone for instant access to documentation
  • Secure video chatting
  • Administer and collect surveys
  • Pay a bill
  • Change/Update demographic information

As much as a patient can move their treatment along remotely, the better.

As a result, waiting rooms will be less crowded because patients no longer have to come in to the office to complete minor, yet required treatment aspects.

Mobility will continue to be a feature that is sought after, and is an area that can set your facility apart from the crowd.

Modernized mobile access has not become a fully realized standard across the industry.

Though most health care facilities provide some form of mobile access, the usability and capability can still vary greatly.

Highly functional mobile access is a great boost to patient satisfaction.

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Security

Larger facilities, especially those with multiple levels of care, need an EHR that can assign a wide range of security clearances to different employees.

To preserve the utmost security to patient information, an effective EHR will provide the ability to specifically control the access that staff has to patient data and the changes they can make to that information based on their role.

This way, no one has access to any information they are not permitted to.

In the case of large facilities with extensive patient loads, the opportunity for breaches in security are much bigger. Thus, role-based security features are crucial.

Support

A large behavioral health facility needs experienced and responsive support.

At this size, technological issues with an EHR can cause extended periods of downtime, thus incapacitating a variety of treatment functions.

As a result, first look for a support package that offers 365/24/7 support services. Each employee working each shift should receive the same level of support when problems arise.

Ideally, an EHR will offer an internal support team that are experts on their specific platform.

This approach promotes the quick and painless resolution of technological problems.

The alternative would be external support, which often times is internationally based.

These third-party, international support employees may not have much of an idea of a facility’s processes or industry, which can result in lesser assistance in your time of need.

Compliance

The larger the facility, the chances are they must comply with a wide range of requirements and guidelines from a variety of organizations. Effective EHRs facilitate compliance in two ways:

  • Facilitating compliance procedures by automatically generating documentation and sending real-time alerts/messages
  • Powerful reporting tools to provide relevant information during audits

Sizing Up AURA

AURA, Sigmund's enterprise software solution, currently serves a variety of large scale behavioral health and addiction treatment centers. We are very proud of the fact that our system can comfortably meet the complex and diversified needs of the most demanding EHR environments.

AURA is so robust, intuitive and functional that it can optimally serve behavioral health or addiction treatment operations of any size, scope and patient load.

AURA is truly an enterprise platform, in that it offers every feature and service necessary to facilitate the most complex EHR needs, all within one software.

Curious to see how AURA can seamlessly fit your large operation? Schedule a demo today!