In January 2012, I adopted an integrated Electronic Health Record system. After evaluating my options, there was a learning curve involved with moving my practice management online. My decision has since proven to be a highly practical and economical solution to meeting the administrative, billing, and record keeping needs of my private practice.
There’s never been a better time to adopt an EHR for your mental health practice. There are many excellent affordable options now available to meet every budget and technology comfort level. While there’s still no perfect software for everyone, even some of the lowest-cost, most minimalist systems provide superior record keeping, office organization, billing and bookkeeping when compared to paper-based systems. As I will outline below, EHRs also offer much more in terms of features and conveniences.
In addition, increased competition has meant lower prices and better customer service. The dedicated technical support included with most EHRs means welcome help in getting your new software installed, set-up and running. As more users adopt EHRs, we all benefit from user groups, peer support and practical well-produced online training materials.
Competition also has led to bug free, user-friendly software that automatically update to accommodate changes in mental health practice standards, legal or business guidelines, and computer operating system software.
The substantial benefits an EHR can bring to your practice include:
- Choice of computer-based, cloud based or hybrid systems
- State of the art security protocols
- Efficient office organization
- Reduced paper usage and physical filing needs
- Convenient billing and bookkeeping
- Templates for assessments and notes
- Streamlined record keeping
- Automatic appointment reminders
- Online calendar access
- Integrated DSM/ICD and CPT codes with automatic updates
- Client user interfaces for self-entry of intake information, billing and scheduling
- Simplified insurance verification, claims filing, and payment/EOB entry
- Integrated credit card processing with card swipers and emailed receipts
- Smart-phone and tablet apps
- Dictation services
- Video-based teleconferencing interface
Here are some potential resources to help you understand your options and make the right choice:
- Articles about and reviews of EHRs in newsletters, journals, blogs and magazines
- Google or Bing search
- Professional association recommendations or special offers
- Advertisements in trade publications
- Vendors exhibiting at conferences and meetings
- Brochures or email information sent from EHR vendors
- Continuing education seminars
- Suggestions from friends and colleagues
If you have been following my series of blog posts about the electronic health record goes into quite a bit more detail. See them here:
- Why Consider Electronic Health Records Now?
- EHR Adoption Rates?
- What Can Go Wrong with EHRs? Legal-Ethical Dangers with Electronic Health Records
- What Is Meaningful Use?
- Choosing the Right EHR Software for Your Practice — Part I
- Choosing the Right EHR Software for Your Practice — Part II
Bottom line, you might want to consider transitioning to EHRs while you still have the leisure approach the task at your own pace. Mental health practitioners will most likely face financial and organizational mandates to use EHRs, just as physician practitioners and hospitals are currently seeing. Thinking of making a change? There’s no time like the present.
Join us for a FREE 1-hour webinar with noted EHR specialist, Lisette Wright. If you haven’t yet seen the description of our February 25th webinar with Ms. Wright, or registered to be informed of our webinars every month, read details here. FREE recording will be made available for 48 hours.
PLEASE NOTE: This FREE Webinar has ended. To gain access to this information, you may still purchase the webinar through the TMH Institute store.
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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the article and on this blog post are those of the authors. These do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, and position of the Telebehavioral Health Institute (TBHI). Any content written by the authors are their opinion and are not intended to malign any organization, company or individuals.