A Doctor Tracking Behavioural Healt Outcomes Over Time

Outcomes Benefits of a Mental & Behavioral Health EHR

Until 2013, only about half of hospitals and doctors’ offices reported using digitized records. But providers soon realized that EHRs allow for crucial patient information to be shared between authorized facilities and practices, which enables better care throughout the patient’s network of providers. Since 2020, there’s been a surge in EHR system adoption, “[as] a relentless acceleration took place within health care systems during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

How Does a Behavioral/Mental Health EHR System Improve Care?

A behavioral health EHR platform offers numerous features that encourage patient engagement and streamline patient care.

An EHR System Gets Patients Engaged in Treatment Right Away

Patient engagement is vital to successful therapy. Engaged patients report greater bonds with their therapists, participate more in their care by attending meetings and groups, and tend to stay in treatment longer, going to appointments more regularly. These positive outcomes are reflected in their overall satisfaction with their counseling experiences.

From the moment that a patient decides to get help, a behavioral health EHR system streamlines the process. Patients can request initial evaluations, submit intake paperwork, schedule follow-up appointments, and complete any assessments that you request.

A Behavioral Health EHR Platform Provides Therapists with Important Information

Mental healthcare has followed the same lines of development as other medical care in that it is increasingly data driven. An EHR system allows for a seamless multi-disciplinary approach to every patient. Information from other professionals in the patient’s life can be accessed quickly, and assessments and self-report forms can also be stored in the mental & behavioral health EHR.

Mental health professionals can see data in real time with an EHR system and develop diagnoses and treatment plans based on a fuller picture rather than just how the patient presents in their office. A therapist can easily coordinate with prescribers within an EHR platform. A survey of family medicine doctors found that the continuous network of care is one of their favorite features.

This interdisciplinary approach is essential to positive therapy outcomes because medications can dramatically affect a patient’s ability to benefit from counseling. Similarly, a counselor may hear complaints about medications that the doctor hasn’t heard. This closes gaps in treatment, which helps the patient, and reduces the need for providers to confer with one another by phone or email, which saves time.

Therapists Can Assess and Track a Patient’s Progress Over Time

Sometimes called measurement-based care (MBC), this approach is widely acclaimed for improving patient care and decreasing the likelihood that the patient will stop therapy prematurely. The American Psychological Association describes two primary aspects of the MBC process: regularly collecting patient-reported outcomes and sharing timely feedback with the patient.

Clinicians can use a behavioral health EHR to administer metric assessments and self-report measures. Therapists can use this information to discuss therapy goals and progress with patients and make independent clinical judgments about changes in treatment plans.

An EHR System Keeps Patients Engaged in Therapy

Keeping appointments is a sign of patient engagement, a major predictor of positive outcomes in therapy. Unfortunately, certain mental health conditions can make it difficult for patients to remember or find the motivation to keep their appointments, making reminders imperative. Patients can receive automatic reminders instead of in-person phone calls or in addition to them if they are struggling to make it to their sessions.

A mental & behavioral health EHR enables your clinic to offer secured teletherapy. Patients who aren’t typically available during normal practice hours may be able to squeeze a video session into their schedules. The system frees people to connect with their therapist on a computer, tablet, or phone, which exponentially increases their options and reduces the time that they need to set aside.

An EHR platform expands the ways that patients interact with their therapists. The patient portals available through the system make it easy to check or change appointment times. Therapists can also post educational information in the portal for patients who wish to gain additional insight into their situation, and patients can ask questions or express concerns outside of their session times using the messaging system.

Therapy Becomes More Accessible

Teletherapy reduces the resources and time required for patients to participate in therapy. A behavioral health EHR system provides a HIPAA-compliant way for patients and therapists to talk. Many patients prefer the privacy afforded by telehealth and appreciate its convenience.

Interestingly, these benefits of teletherapy hold true across the mental health patient population, irrespective of patients’ diagnoses or the severity of their conditions.

Telehealth reduces the stress of the first therapy appointment, which can be a significant factor in getting people to follow through on seeking help. There’s no need to drive around looking for an office, sit in a waiting room, or interact with any staff.

Eliminating the need to commute in person removes a barrier to seeking therapy for many people, especially those who are working, caretaking, or differently abled. Teletherapy can also be useful when people are sick or immunocompromised and need to quarantine but still wish to engage in counseling.

Do Mental & Behavioral Health EHRs Benefit Therapy Outcomes?

A mental and behavioral health EHR system offers unparalleled opportunities to get patients engaged in therapy. It empowers patients to manage their own care in ways that traditional offices can’t facilitate. Whether through direct interaction with services like messaging, easy access to forms and appointments, or the convenience of teletherapy, an EHR platform provides options that can be tailored to fit the practice and the patient. Improve quality, efficiency, and outcomes by implementing a mental & behavioral health EHR.

Here at CarePaths, we help therapists work more effectively and improve patient outcomes by empowering them with the data that they need via EHR. To learn more about how we can help you, start your free trial today!

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