When the EMR software market first emerged, behavioral and mental health professionals had very few available choices designed to suit their specific needs. Many ended up settling for more general medical EMRs that, despite including custom templates designed for their specialty, weren’t entirely suited to their needs. In recent years it’s safe to say the tide has turned. As specialty clinics began to gain popularity, the need for mental and behavioral health software systems became evident.
Specialty healthcare providers — including mental health and behavioral health EMR providers — have begun to demand EMRs designed specifically for their needs. In some cases, this involves medical EMRs with robust, well-constructed modules focused on their specialty. However, most of the time, modern behavioral health providers are opting for specialty-specific systems. With a higher focus on behavioral and mental health than in the past, the EMR industry has jumped at the chance to meet this need. As a result, there is a wide range of mental and behavioral health EHR software available today.
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Implementing Mental and Behavioral Health EHR/EMR
Searching for behavioral and mental health EMRs can be broken down into two main steps:
- Assess your needs: The better you understand your EMR requirements, the more likely it is that your purchase will pay off, both clinically and financially.
- Evaluate potential EMR vendors using your unique list of requirements.
Determining what your clinicians need is crucial when defining your EMR requirements. If your clinicians (aka the users) don’t feel comfortable with the system, it’s not likely to offer much of a benefit to your organization. Not only should you ask your practitioners what they like and dislike about their current EMR (if you’re replacing a system), you should also discuss what they would like to see out of a new EMR and why.
Sadly, many organizations don’t listen to their frontline clinicians, so they end up buying EMRs that they can’t understand or simply don’t want to use. Don’t make this mistake.
When on the hunt for behavioral and mental health EMR solutions, keep in mind your healthcare facility’s unique wants and needs as well as what issues you are currently facing. While both cloud-based and on-premise healthcare technology solutions have their advantages, certain clinics will benefit more from one or the other. For example, specialty clinics like behavioral and mental health facilities would benefit more from a cloud-based solution, whereas a hospital with a number of different departments would not. In addition, on-premise solutions require your own IT team to deal with updates as well as issues.
Sometimes, a lesser-known system will serve a behavioral or mental health practice’s needs as well as those developed by vendors with a larger marketing budget. Be aware: some vendors will tack on additional fees when adding applications or features.
At first glance, it may be difficult to differentiate one specialty EMR system from the next, much less rank them. But, if you compare the differences between vendors and carefully adhere to your requirements, you can find an EMR that makes it easier to share patient records, improves your billing process and makes health records easily accessible on any mobile device.
Finding the Right Solution for You
To make the process a little easier, we narrowed it down to our top five behavioral and mental health EMR solutions. Throughout this article, we will discuss each of the top five vendors and their key tasks — we’ve included their unique features as well as company-size suitability, deployment method(s), cost and more.
With behavioral and mental health treatment primarily taking place in clinics and outpatient facilities, cloud-based options are more often than not the proper solution. For the sake of this article, our top five behavioral and mental health EMR solutions are all cloud-based options.