Choosing the right electronic health record (EHR) system is an increasingly important decision. New EHR software is both a financial investment and a requirement to comply with government guidelines. But choosing the wrong system could only add to your burden. In fact, as a recent study shows, EHRs with poor usability are a leading driver of clinician burnout among behavioral health specialists and others. What’s more, the EHR market includes hundreds of vendors in all shapes and sizes vying for your business.
Our goal is to provide you with a more complete understanding of your choices. In this guide, we’ll discuss the different types of EHR companies along with the benefits and challenges of each. We’ll also break down what the research shows about improving EHR satisfaction and use among behavioral health specialists.
3 Types of EHR Companies
In outpatient care, including behavioral health, there are three types of EHR software vendors: general practice, multi-specialty, and specialty-specific. Among these, some vendors provide full-service cloud-based EHR solutions, and others sell on-premise EHR software that requires self-hosting and self-management.
1. General Practice EHR Companies
As the name implies, these EHR vendors provide solutions aimed at health systems like general medicine practices. Healthcare providers at these medical practices often require broad but basic EHR features like access to patient data and electronic charting tools.
- Benefits of general practice EHR: This type of EHR system is designed to help physician practices deliver fast and efficient patient care. Common features include progress note templates, general medical order sets, and access to the patient records or EMR system. Advanced options often include HIPAA-compliant patient portals and messaging systems.
- Challenges of general practice EHR: The scope of general practice EHR systems is usually limited. They may not meet guidelines for interoperability and Meaningful Use. They are not designed for large healthcare organizations or specialty practices. These systems usually lack desirable practice management features that are helpful in specialty practices like RCM integration and real-time decision support.
2. Multi-Specialty EHR Companies
Multi-specialty or ambulatory EHR companies offer products that provide clinical solutions for a range of medical specialties and may lack family practice, general practice, or internal medicine templates and order sets.
- Benefits of multi-specialty EHR: These EHR systems were designed for multi-specialty clinics. Physicians from different specialties work together in multi-specialty medical clinics. Often these medical professionals share facilities, administration, income and expenses, support staff and equipment, and need an EHR that enables customizations.
- Challenges of multi-specialty EHR: This type of EHR solution has the potential to enable practice management for hundreds of specialties and subspecialties. However, an EHR system does not automatically optimize to each specific medical specialty. Customizations were designed to be configured individually. This can be time-consuming and difficult without sufficient training and support. You should keep in mind that if you run a single-specialty practice, such as behavioral health, this type of EHR software will not meet your needs the same way a streamlined EHR tailored to your practice might.
3. Specialty-Specific EHR Companies
Single-specialty EHR companies focus on a particular type of healthcare practice or specialty. Whether you run surgery, orthopedics, ophthalmology, behavioral health, or any other type of practice, there are EHR solutions created specifically for your needs.
- Benefits of specialty EHR: Specialty EHR creates workflows tailored to the needs of a specialist. These EHR systems offer personalized templates that can reduce data entry, and documentation, allowing clinicians to spend more time treating and caring for patients. Specialty EHR providers often offer tailored solutions that include advanced features most useful in your niche.
- Challenges of specialty EHR: Some companies merely pose as specialty EHR vendors. (One clue is that the company also provides general EHR products or software for other specialties.) These EHR companies may lack the expertise needed to provide the support and training specialty users need. Be sure to work with specialty vendors that have both clinical and health information technology experience in your industry.
Improve EHR Satisfaction With ContinuumCloud’s Behavioral Health EHR
A behavioral health EHR system provides a better way to manage patient records, improve workflows, and support your clinicians, staff, and patients. However, behavioral health EHR adoption rates lag far behind those of all other specialties in the healthcare industry.
The quality of training and support received during onboarding is critical to provider satisfaction and EHR adoption. Data from Klas Research backs this up. In a survey of 30,000 specialty clinicians, they found higher EHR satisfaction rates occurred when sufficient EHR training was successfully completed and when the chosen EHR had the specific functionality and the features needed for their specialty. Another issue is usability. When you purchase an EHR that does not support specialty-specific clinical workflows, it may only create more work for your staff.
ContinuumCloud offers a comprehensive single-specialty EHR solution for behavioral health. You work smarter, not harder, with our cloud-based EHR platform and mobile apps. ContinuumCloud strives to understand your needs, create solutions, and provide expert guidance when you're just starting out and scale with you as you grow.
ContinuumCloud Training and Support
We help you meet challenges with EHR adoption before they become a roadblock to your success. Besides providing comprehensive product training, refreshers on best practices, and ongoing support, the customer success team at ContinuumCloud is always available through email, chat, and phone.
Behavioral Health Specialties Served
The EHR offered by ContinuumCloud is a cloud-based solution created by behavioral health IT specialists practicing in areas like:
- Mental Health: Counseling, outpatient, and residential services, as well as integrated primary care.
- Child and Family: Foster care, youth programs, and family support services.
- Addiction and Substance Use: Individual therapy, group therapy, community support, and MAT services.
- I/DD and Autism: Supported living, educational and vocational programs, ABA therapy, and day services.
- Human Services: Community, housing, population healthcare, school-based care, senior care, advocate, and more.
Top EHR Features and Functions for Behavioral Health
Pricing is important but shouldn't overshadow functionality. An EHR software system should streamline workflows while enhancing the clinical and organizational performance of your behavioral health practice.
Some of the most desired features of ContinuumCloud's EHR software and healthcare IT include:
- User-friendly interfaces and dashboards, templates, and self-service reports
- Interoperability with electronic medical record (EMR) systems
- Compatibility with medical billing software and revenue cycle management (RCM) tools
- Secure patient portal, apps for patient engagement, e-prescribing tools, and telehealth
- HIPAA-compliant direct chat, patient communication, and internal messaging apps
Looking for the Best EHR for Behavioral Health? ContinuumCloud Can Help
Choosing the right type of EHR company is important. Working with a general practice EHR company is a good choice if you don’t require advanced features like specialty support. Multi-specialty EHR companies offer products that are more sophisticated but also more time-consuming and require additional training and support to customize. Specialty-specific EHR is the best fit for practices that need precise solutions to improve workflow and streamline processes. But be sure to carefully vet each specialty EHR company to avoid disappointments.
In behavioral health, EHR adoption remains low despite benefits like streamlined workflows and improved quality of patient care. But you can increase usage in your organization by partnering with ContinuumCloud. We eliminate the obstacles to successful EHR adoption by providing comprehensive, ongoing training and support along with user-friendly products that offer superb functionality.
ContinuumCloud’s EHR makes the most of your investment. Our cloud-based technology was designed for behavioral health professionals to support the many services you provide. Let’s discuss how to implement a successful EHR program for you today.