5 Ways a Mental Health EHR Can Improve Patient Care
With a mental health EHR, your agency can streamline many aspects of your workflow, including prior authorizations, insurance verifications, documentation, and billing. This allows your providers to spend more time with their patients.
However, standardized data in EHRs can disrupt the therapeutic relationship. A mental health add-on specifically designed for the mental health context could address this issue.
For many people seeking mental health treatment, the stigma associated with mental illness can prevent them from speaking openly about their symptoms and how they affect their daily lives. However, a strong relationship with their healthcare professional can help them feel more comfortable discussing their needs and concerns.
This allows them to provide a more thorough and accurate diagnosis. It also helps ensure that the patient receives the care they need, which can improve their overall health outcomes.
A mental health EHR can also make it easier for practitioners to coordinate with other healthcare professionals. This includes their patient’s General Physician and clinic case managers. Psychiatrists can easily share patient information with other healthcare professionals to help ensure that their patients are getting the best possible care.
Using an EHR system for mental health can allow therapists and doctors to work together more efficiently. With an integrated care program, they can compare notes, develop a treatment plan, and schedule appointments. They can also track medication, which is essential as psychiatric conditions are often comorbid with physical disorders.
Moreover, using an EHR system can help streamline operations. For example, it can eliminate paperwork and enable patients to pay online. Additionally, it can keep records secure, as they are only accessible to authorized staff members and backed up on the cloud.
It can also allow providers to share information with other specialists and the patient’s general physician. This will prevent duplication of services, reduce errors, and enhance the quality of patient care.
Having readily available patient records can help mental health practitioners provide care promptly, even during crises. This accessibility is essential in large psychiatric clinics and public-sector behavioral health venues.
The information practices of psychiatric clinicians are unique and require different formats. Studies found that EHRs can improve documentation but may also disrupt workflows. Some problems included restrictive templates that deviated from the narrative format of psychiatric notes and missing forms for mental health.
Using an EHR can help streamline the process of tracking and sharing patient data between different providers, including psychiatrists, psychologists, and primary care physicians. This can help ensure that all healthcare professionals are on the same page about treatment plans and can collaborate effectively to give patients the best possible care.
A critical part of successful treatment begins with accurate and timely diagnosis. A streamlined EHR makes this process easier by giving clinicians access to a complete patient history. This also allows them to review patient condition trends quickly and provides essential contextual information for their decision-making.
However, previous studies have found that standardized EHRs may not work well for mental health contexts. For example, Ser et al. found that clinical staff often communicated information verbally between teams before it was recorded in the EHR system.
This may occur because mental health documentation relies on narrative information that resists standardization. A specialized behavioral health EHR can make documenting more efficient by allowing mental healthcare professionals to record the necessary information in one place.
Health policy advocates are making great strides in encouraging mental health systems and solo practitioners to adopt EHRs. These systems help improve bidirectional communication between behavioral health practitioners and primary care physicians to increase awareness of co-occurring medical conditions, which can lead to improved treatment adherence and outcomes.
Some studies have found that standard EHR data fields don’t easily fit the gray narrative information standard in mental health contexts, leading to incomplete documentation. Some research has also noted that essential templates and data fields are missing from EHR systems, further fragmenting this important record-keeping system.
A centralized patient portal for all healthcare professionals to access and share forms and documents helps to reduce these issues. Behavioral health teams often include psychiatrists, therapists, and primary care physicians, who must work together to develop and track patient treatment plans.