Psychiatry EHR for Large Organizations: Overcoming the Challenges

Doctors attending a conference

In spite of rising EHR (electronic health record) adoption rates throughout the healthcare industry, behavioral health continues to lag behind, leaving many clinicians using outdated EMR (electronic medical records) software. As such, there's a good chance that when it’s time for your organization to upgrade from your existing software, you’ll want to switch to a more comprehensive EHR system. 

Here, we’ll dive deep into the benefits of implementing psychiatry EHR, look at the unique challenges that larger organizations face when rolling out a new system, and offer some proven strategies for successful implementation.

What Are the Benefits of Psychiatry EHR?

An EHR solution for medium-size and larger mental health organizations (100-2,000 employees) offers many potential benefits, including improved patient care and outcomes, increased efficiency and accuracy in documentation and billing, and enhanced provider communication and collaboration. A comprehensive EHR system can also help you achieve clinical excellence in every sector, from patient care to reimbursement and employee satisfaction. 

Improve Patient Care and Outcomes

Implementing an EHR solution for larger psychiatry practices or multispecialty clinics can enhance patient care and outcomes. By giving clinicians access to a patient's complete medical history — including mental health history, medication list, and previous treatments — psychiatrists can make more informed decisions about their patients' care.

Moreover, a comprehensive EHR software solution facilitates care coordination among providers and care teams. For instance, EHR software can help identify patients who require follow-up visits and ensure they receive the necessary medications or therapies. Automations like appointment reminders and appointment scheduling can reduce no-shows and help close the gap in care for large organizations. 

In addition, an EHR solution can communicate with pharmacies through e-Rx systems. This feature provides e-prescribing alerts regarding potential medication interactions or warnings about possible adverse side effects, ensuring that behavioral health providers have all the information they need to provide safe, quality care.

Achieve Efficiency and Accuracy in Documentation and Billing

Implementing an EHR solution for psychiatry can also improve practice management by increasing efficiency and accuracy in data entry, clinical documentation, and billing. Templates for intake forms, assessments, progress notes, and questionnaires enable providers to quickly and easily document patient encounters. Templates and forms reduce the time spent on administrative tasks and clinical documentation, freeing up time for patient care. 

Better than standalone billing software, EHR systems can streamline medical billing workflows and simplify revenue cycle management (RCM). With EHR software, providers can document and code patient visits more accurately, improving reimbursement. This can lead to faster and more reliable payments, improving an organization's financial stability. 

Enhance Communication and Collaboration Between Providers

EHR solutions for psychiatry can improve communication and collaboration between providers. For example, an EHR solution can facilitate patient information exchange regardless of location. Health professionals can easily access patient records, treatment plans, and other relevant information. As a result, they can improve their quality of care and reduce the risk of miscommunication or errors.

An EHR system with patient portal functionality improves communication between patients and their mental health team. In sizable mental health organizations, patient care may range widely and require more coordination than in small practices or private practice settings. HIPAA-compliant messaging and telehealth features of an EHR system help boost patient engagement.

Additionally, EHR solutions can enable different providers to share information in real-time, improving the coordination of care between various providers and care teams. Providers can collaborate on treatment plans, review patient histories, and discuss potential medication interactions, which can lead to better patient outcomes. EHR software can also facilitate secure messaging between providers, enabling them to communicate more efficiently and effectively.

What Are the Challenges and Considerations for Implementation?

In a larger organization, implementing an EHR solution for psychiatry can be challenging and complex, but identifying the challenges can help you overcome them. Ensuring that the EHR system meets the specific needs of the psychiatry department is foremost, as these needs can vary significantly from other departments within the organization. Careful planning, communication, and collaboration between the psychiatry, IT departments, and EHR vendors are essential.

Another challenge is ensuring the software complies with regulations and standards, such as HIPAA and HITECH. To do so requires strict adherence to security and privacy protocols to protect patient data and ongoing monitoring and maintenance of the system.

Finally, adopting an EHR solution can be challenging, as it often requires a significant shift in how healthcare providers and staff work. Resistance to change, lack of training, and inadequate support can all hinder successful implementation.

4 Strategies for Successfully Implementing and Adopting Psychiatry EHR

Psychiatry EHR: psychiatrists having a meeting

Implementing an EHR solution for psychiatry in a medium or large organization requires technical expertise and buy-in from psychiatry providers and staff. Let’s take a closer look at how to successfully implement psychiatry EHR.

1. Stakeholder Buy-in

Getting stakeholder buy-in for purchasing a new psychiatry EHR in a medium to large organization requires a strategic and thoughtful approach. The following are some important steps that companies can take to ensure that stakeholders are engaged and supportive of the investment.

  • Identify the key stakeholders: The first step is identifying the stakeholders impacted by the new psychiatry EHR system. You may include psychiatry providers and staff, IT personnel, administration, and finance departments. Identifying key stakeholders is critical to ensuring that all have a voice and that the EHR solution meets their needs.
  • Communicate the need for the new EHR system: The next step is to communicate why you need an EHR system. You would share the benefits of the new EHR system, such as improved patient care and outcomes, increased efficiency and accuracy in charting, clinical documentation, and billing, and enhanced communication and collaboration between providers. You can do this through meetings, presentations, and written communications.
  • Gather feedback from stakeholders: It’s vital to gather feedback from stakeholders throughout the purchasing process. This includes seeking input on selecting the EHR system, the implementation process, and ongoing support and maintenance. You can gather feedback through surveys, focus groups, and one-on-one conversations.
  • Address concerns and objections: As stakeholders provide feedback, it’s crucial to address any concerns or objections they may have. This may involve providing additional information or reassurances about the EHR system or exploring alternative solutions to address concerns.
  • Build a business case: Building a business case for the purchase of the new psychiatry EHR system includes outlining the costs and benefits of the EHR system and the return on investment. A well-crafted business case can help demonstrate the EHR system's value and gain stakeholder support.
  • Involve stakeholders in the decision-making process: Finally, it’s important to involve them. You can create a cross-functional team to evaluate EHR solutions or include stakeholders in the final selection process. Involving stakeholders in the decision-making process can help to build support and ownership for the new EHR system.

2. Physician Engagement Strategy

For successful EHR adoption, physician buy-in is crucial. To achieve this, we recommend a physician engagement strategy.

A physician engagement strategy can include several key components. The first step is involving providers and staff in the planning and implementation process. You may conduct focus groups, surveys, and meetings with psychiatrists and other mental health providers to understand their concerns and preferences for the EHR system. By involving providers and staff early on, the organization can address concerns and create a more user-friendly and practical design.

Another strategy for physician engagement is to incentivize EHR adoption. You could reward providers and staff who successfully adopt the EHR system or meet specific usage metrics. These incentives help providers and staff engage with the system and see the value in its adoption.

3. Training and Support

Another component of successful psychiatry EHR adoption is to provide adequate and ongoing training and support to providers and staff. Include plans for initial training on the EHR system and ongoing support and education with training sessions, online resources, and peer-to-peer support, among other strategies. Providers and staff should also be encouraged to provide feedback on the EHR system and identify areas for improvement.

4. Feedback and Improvement

Ongoing communication and collaboration with psychiatry providers and staff are essential to maintaining physician and staff adoption of the EHR system. Schedule regular check-ins and feedback sessions for psychiatry providers and staff for ongoing EHR system development and improvement. Involving providers and staff ensures that the system meets their needs and remains relevant to the psychiatry department.

ContinuumCloud’s Psychiatry EHR Solution

Psychiatry EHR: employees using a laptop and a tablet

ContinuumCloud's psychiatry EHR solution is a comprehensive, cloud-based system ideal for medium to large behavioral health practices. It’s specifically designed to meet the unique needs of psychiatry providers and staff with a range of features and capabilities to support better patient care and outcomes, higher efficiency and accuracy in documentation and billing, and more streamlined communication and collaboration between providers.

One key advantage of ContinuumCloud is that our EHR solution has been Meaningful Use certified. As a result, the system meets specific standards set by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for using electronic health records in health care. ContinuumCloud's EHR solution is certified for both Stages 2 and 3 of Meaningful Use, ensuring it meets the most up-to-date regulatory requirements for interoperability.

Cloud-based ensures access from anywhere with an internet connection. Providing access at any time, from any location, can improve the efficiency and flexibility of care. Additionally, our cloud-based technology guarantees that patient data is stored securely and meets HIPAA and HITECH Act requirements for privacy and security.

ContinuumCloud also provides extensive training and support to providers and staff. This ensures that providers and staff are comfortable using the EHR system and have access to the resources they need to provide the best possible patient care. In addition, our EHR solution is highly configurable, which means it can be customized to meet the specific needs of each organization. In this way, the EHR system is tailored to the unique needs of the psychiatry department and can be adapted over time to reflect changing requirements or best practices.

Choose the Right Psychiatry EHR Solution for Your Organization

EHRs for psychiatry can improve patient outcomes, increase efficiency and accuracy in documentation and billing, improve communication and collaboration between providers, and improve the quality of patient care. In addition to partnering with a vendor who understands large psychiatry and behavioral health organizations, you'll need practical strategies to overcome implementation and adoption challenges. Connect with us when you are ready to upgrade your organization to a state-of-the-art EHR system.

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