Empower Your Practice

Journal for Practice Managers

What should I look for in a behavioural and mental health EHR?

Mental health pic

Electronic Health Records, or EHRs, are a necessity for any medical organisation, yet they play an even more special role in mental health practices. When it comes to psychological health, data about a patient's condition and progress is collected somewhat differently. There is simply more information gathered and since a lot of qualitative analysis is involved having a good record system vital to the delivery of effective treatment.

If you are unsure whether or not your practice needs EHR software, here are four reasons why you should consider getting one for your mental health clinic:

1. Keep your data safe, secure and compliant

Regulations surrounding data security are getting tighter every year. For decades, businesses in many industry sectors have been forced to store data in multiple formats simultaneously so that it can be easily extracted upon request. If you rely on paper notes, you risk losing your data via water or fire damage, or at the very least wear and tear over the years. A good EHR system will encrypt your data, and provide an advanced backup strategy, so that if something happens you can still access all your patient information.

Everything is Secure to the Core with the Medesk Platform. All your data is protected in transfer and storage, and you can even set up different levels of access rights for your colleagues.

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Read more: How Healthcare Organizations Can Protect Themselves from Cyberattacks

2. Automate as much as you can

Many aspects of patient care can and should be automated. There is no reason to be spending valuable time on writing out prescriptions by hand, or putting together referral letters amongst other documents. When you automate the routine, repetitive tasks, you leave no room for error, making sure all necessary steps were taken. Moreover, you free up your colleagues’ time so that they can spend more time with patients or take a well-earned break between appointments.

Pro Tip: You can use a medical CRM to keep track of patient's appointments and send them automated appointment reminders!

3. Save time and energy

Mental healthcare can involve many years of treatment. During this period, patients’ symptoms, diagnoses, and medications change, and notes seem to grow exponentially. When doctors do not have access to a systematised health records platform, they spend extra time perusing the medical history, double-checking what prescriptions and treatments were used in the past. Needless to say, this requires a lot of time and effort, which could be spent on patients directly instead. With an EHR software in place, doctors can instantly check a summary of the patients’ medical history, see what was prescribed before and the effect the treatment plan had

When working with patients who experience mental illnesses, there is additional pressure on doctors to build rapport. Personal contact is often more fragile, so the more time doctors spend on conversations that develop a relationship with the patient, the more effective their consultation will be. A smart electronic system that offers automation, clear summaries, and readily available psychometric questionnaires can make all the difference.

Medesk combines all your patient information into a single electronic health record for easy access to data at any moment. Check the medical history, including lab results and consultation notes. Medesk will become your one source of truth for everything you need to know about your patients.

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4. Coordinate patient care

Chronic physical illnesses are often diagnosed alongside mental illnesses, making it vital for medical records to be shared seamlessly across clinics of different specialities. An EHR system enables easy data flow, which results in better healthcare delivery. Additionally, when comorbidities are involved, doctors must have easy access to a patient’s drug history to cross-check if there are any contraindications or drug-drug interactions between new medications and existingr treatments.

Psyco notes Psychological questionnaires in Medesk

Learn more: Mental health clinics working online – The fundamentals you need to know

What should I look for in a behavioural and mental health EHR?

Let’s say you decide to go ahead and find an EHR software for your practice. Where do you start? Before selecting a pool of vendors and comparing them, it is worth defining exactly what you are looking for.

Start with asking yourself these questions:

  • What do you want the software to do for you?
  • What does your current workflow look like?
  • Who are your key stakeholders, and what are their requirements?
  • Which benefits does your current system have now, and where is it letting you down?

There are many medical software products on the market with basic functionality that is broadly similar. It’s the more advanced features that set each product apart. That’s why your unique needs and requirements should lead the evaluation process and help identify what is right for your mental practice. That’s why it is crucial that you sit down and figure out your key criteria before proceeding.

Read next: How to make your EHR work for you

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