Mental Health Providers Want Patient Tracking, All-In-One EHRs

Jennifer Bresnick | EHR Intelligence | July 25, 2014

For the 33% of mental and behavioral health providers who are still entirely paper-based, integrated practice management and EHR software is at the top of the wish list, according to a new report from Software Advice.  Eighty-three percent of prospective buyers are seeking one comprehensive application to cover everything from patient scheduling to revenue cycle management to patient documentation, signaling a significant shift away from the piecemeal adoption of health IT that has led to so many interoperability problems within organizations and among business partners.

Primary care EHRs may tout their patient documentation features, which are important for episodic care that addresses single problems like a sinus infection or skin rash, but mental health providers must develop and track an ongoing care plan that may not have such clear-cut goals.  These care plans are complicated by the fact that up to 50% of patients don’t show up for scheduled appointments, making patient tracking and scheduling features critical to revenue cycle management and billing.

Eighty-three percent of providers surveyed in the report indicated that patient management features were of the utmost concern when choosing an EHR or PM suite, compared to just a quarter of other providers who said they plan to focus investment on patient scheduling applications in another recent poll.  Thirty-one percent specifically requested the ability to efficiently track patient assessments and treatment plans.  Other highly requested features include mobile integration, e-prescribing, appointment reminders, customizable templates, and eligibility inquiries...