As care delivery expands beyond the traditional office setting, mobile electronic health records (EHRs) have become a must-have. The flexibility of a mobile app allows providers to offer care more seamlessly, whether conducting a home visit, intervening in a crisis, or providing remote consultation.
With mobile EHR software, providers can access the comprehensive patient health data needed to make informed decisions right at the point of care, ensuring the accuracy and timeliness of information.
Join us as we discuss remote work challenges in behavioral health and human services and how mobile EHR software can assist you in meeting these challenges.
EMR or EHR: What’s the Difference and Why Does It Matter?
Electronic medical records (EMR) are a digital version of a patient’s chart. EMR software captures and stores medical data generated during treatment at a particular medical practice or behavioral health facility. Traditionally, this information is “local” or kept on premises.
EMRs include treatment notes, vital signs, medication lists, past medical history, consultations, and reports as well as demographic, insurance, and medical billing and payment information. If your goal is digitizing patient records, implementing an EMR is a step in the right direction.
While EMRs and EHRs have some similarities, they are not the same, and it’s crucial to note their differences. EHRs are more sophisticated than EMRs and include self-reported patient data and detailed clinical information such as history and physicals, primary care notes, treatment plans, lab results, radiographic studies, detailed medication profiles, and prescription information.
The major difference is that certified EHRs are interoperable. EHR interoperability or Meaningful Use certification enables information sharing between stakeholders. Patients can view—and in some cases contribute to—their electronic health records through a special interface or patient portal.
Interoperable EHRs also encourage collaborative care across multiple specialties with the aim of improving health outcomes, lowering costs, and preventing hospitalizations. The question is, are EHRs capable of meeting the challenges of remote work? Let’s take a closer look to get at the answer.
Understanding Remote Workforce Challenges in Behavioral Health and Human Services
When it comes to behavioral health and human services (BHHS), remote work is not a new idea. In fact, many professionals, including therapists, social workers, and case managers have been doing fieldwork for most of their careers.
In BHHS, working remotely may include leading group therapy, conducting home studies, providing web-based telehealth, facilitating community-based mental health programs, and many other activities. Fieldwork can be rewarding, but it can also present some of the obstacles listed below.
To ensure compliance with regulatory standards like HIPAA, organizations must establish secure access to data and storage methods, implement rigorous training for remote staff, and continuously monitor for potential data breaches.
Effective remote workforce management requires strategies for hiring, training, assessing, and developing staff in a virtual environment. It's essential to ensure that remote team members feel supported, connected, and are given opportunities for growth and development.
When staff are dispersed, maintaining a strong and cohesive company culture is challenging. Executives must be particularly careful to preserve team unity, keep communication open, and ensure the organization's values are upheld regardless of an employee’s location.
Stagnation of ideas is risky in a remote environment, as the need for in-person interactions can limit spontaneous creativity and idea generation. As such, it’s essential for management to foster an environment of continuous learning, improvement, and innovation, even when employees are physically apart.
Communication and Collaboration
Maintaining efficient and clear communication can be tough with a remote workforce. Whether you’re in a small practice setting or larger organization, clinics rely on consistent and coordinated team efforts to deliver optimal patient care. Remote work can sometimes lead to misunderstandings due to a lack of face-to-face interaction, which may affect decision-making processes and workflow.
Siloed Work Environment
Remote work can lead to a siloed work environment, where departments or individuals work independently, lacking coordination and mutual understanding. This isolation can prevent exchanging of ideas and information necessary for comprehensive patient care and efficient operations. It can also lead to duplication of efforts, inconsistencies in patient care, and hindered progress due to a lack of shared knowledge.
Importance of Mobile EHR Software in Complex Care Delivery
With healthcare delivery becoming increasingly complex, robust tools such as electronic health records software become increasingly important. The changing dynamics of care delivery are reflected in the transition from traditional paper EHR systems to mobile EHR apps.
As care shifts from purely in-office medical practices to a model that includes fieldwork and remote services, mobile applications help providers accommodate the shift. In this day and age, flexibility is not just a convenience but a necessity.
During the pandemic, use of telehealth grew exponentially. However, while other uses of telehealth have since declined, the use of telebehavioral health continues to grow, representing 36% of visits for mental health and substance use treatment. According to a recent study by the American Hospital Association, 3 out of 4 virtual users support a campaign to make pandemic-era telehealth coverage permanent.
Mobile functionality simplifies care delivery by providing instant access to comprehensive patient information. Its greatest strength is its ability to enable healthcare professionals to provide efficient, effective, and coordinated care no matter where they are. It’s especially important for behavioral health professionals working in the community, in the homes of clients, or other nonclinical settings. In addition to mobile EHR software, there are other areas where it stands out.
- Real-Time Access to Information: Clinicians can access client records in the field immediately, allowing them to make better decisions.
- Communication and Collaboration: Using any smartphone (iPhone, iOs, Android), tablet (Apple iPad), or other mobile device, clinicians can access secure HIPAA-compliant tools with each other remotely. Furthermore, remote workers can easily communicate with office staff, share important updates, discuss patient cases, and seek guidance, thereby fostering better teamwork and coordination. By integrating messaging and notifications within mobile EHR systems, team members can collaborate in real-time, reducing misunderstandings and increasing effectiveness of therapy.
- Documentation: Mobile EHR software allows for immediate, on-site documentation of observations, interventions, and outcomes, ensuring accurate and complete records.
- Privacy and Security: Mobile EHR systems offer robust security measures, including secure login and data encryption, to ensure patient information privacy and security, even in remote work settings.
- Telehealth: Providing and receiving healthcare remotely is possible thanks to telehealth services.
- Clinical Decision Support: An EHR provides pertinent, structured clinical information to support health-related decisions and actions to improve patient outcomes and quality of care.
- Enhanced Safety: EHRs offer enhanced safety and reduce the likelihood of human error in note-taking and communication. With the ability to quickly and accurately record patient information, providers can ensure that important details are noticed and understood, leading to better patient outcomes.
- e-Prescribing: Mobile EHR software facilitates e-prescribing by connecting directly to pharmacies, speeding up medication dispensing, and improving the patient experience. It also offers a patient portal, enhancing patient engagement by allowing patients to check in, view their health information, and communicate with their providers digitally.
- Revenue Cycle Management: By taking advantage of mobile point-of-care workflows for real-time charge capture and clinical documentation, behavioral health organizations can shorten the revenue cycle, reduce billing errors, and improve financial outcomes.
Support Your Remote Workforce With Mobile EHR Software
Remote work is here to stay for healthcare providers. As a result, mobile EHR software solutions give providers the tools they need to support remote workers and unite their teams under one common goal: delivering high-quality care.
In addition to comprehensive cloud-based EHR software, ContinuumCloud offers a mobile app designed to meet the needs of behavioral health and human services professionals. It provides a simple interface to access client information, schedules, and documentation.
With this mobile EHR app, BHHS professionals can deliver efficient, high-quality care wherever they are, whether in the office, the client's home, or out in the community.
Connect with us today to learn how ContinuumCloud’s comprehensive EHR and mobile solutions can help you simplify and streamline workflows and processes while providing better patient care.