Globally, the mental healthcare market was valued at $383.31 billion in 2020. By 2030, that value is set to exceed $500 billion. That’s a CAGR of 3.5% in ten years. This growth has always been expected, given how cautious people are about their mental health now.
At the same time, the behavioral healthcare software market was valued at $2.9 billion in 2021. By 2030, that value is expected to grow at a CAGR of 12.78%. One of the main software technologies that are dominating this sphere at present is behavioral EHR software.
Electronically-based health records (EHR) are one of the most important tools for managing behavioral health care. Behavioral health EHR software helps keep track of patient records and can be used to improve treatment and delivery.
However, just because you have an EHR doesn’t mean it will work well for your organization. In fact, choosing the right software can be one of the most important decisions you will make as a therapist or counselor in the healthcare industry today.
If you’re looking for a way to improve how your clinic manages patient data and treatment plans, read on to gain expert insights on choosing EHR software for your behavioral healthcare practice.
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Understand What You Need
Before you begin the process of choosing EHR software, it’s important to understand exactly what you need.
First, consider your use case. Are you starting a new behavioral health practice or upgrading an existing one? What is the purpose of the software in your situation? Second, identify any pain points in your current system and how they could be improved with a new EHR solution. Finally, define clear goals for your behavioral health practice and outline how they will be achieved using an electronic medical records system.
Once all these questions are answered, it will be easier for you to narrow down which systems meet those requirements best. Work with different EHR software vendors to find something that suits you best.
Look at the User Interface
A good EHR software will be easy to use and intuitive, giving you and your staff the ability to get up and running with minimal training. It should also be customizable so that you can adapt it to meet the specific needs of your practice.
The EHR software must be flexible enough for various types of practices as well as security protocols are in place to protect patient data against breaches or theft.
Understand the Features, Functions, and How They Fit Your Needs
Understanding features, functions, and how they fit your needs is important in choosing the right EHR for your practice. It’s important to know what you need. What are the most important features and functions to you? What is most valuable to your patients?
If you know these things, it’s easy to start looking at different options to find one that meets all of those needs.
Consider the Format of the Information Collected
Whether you’re looking for new EHR software, it’s important to consider the format of the information collected. There are many different types of information that an EHR system could collect, but they generally fall into one of two categories – structured and unstructured data.
Structured data is organized in a predetermined way and includes things like billing codes or medical diagnoses. Unstructured data is not organized specifically and would include notes taken by a doctor or therapist during an appointment with a patient.
You may use both types of data or either one. Depending on your needs, you have to explain it to your vendor so that they may arrange the software for you accordingly.
Consider Interoperability with Other Systems
Interoperability is the ability of software and hardware to communicate with one another. It’s important to integrate behavioral health records with your other systems, such as scheduling and billing.
Integration is what enables interoperability, but it’s not just a matter of connecting to external systems. It also involves enabling different parts of your practice to work together better. For example, integrating multiple EHR platforms can allow you to share patient data across departments or locations without manually entering information into each system.
Such interoperability is vital, especially in cases where your practice is overseeing a range of behavioral health case types.
Determine the System’s Scalability
A good EHR system will be scalable so that you can grow with it. Determining how easily the software can be expanded and updated as your practice grows is important. You should look for EHR features that allow you to add new staff or users, store patient data on multiple devices, and upload information from other systems into your EHR.
At the same time, the software should be capable of handling large volumes of data. This is for cases when your practice goes bigger and has to deal with several clients at a time. Unless the software is scalable, it will fail to accommodate the large volume of data that comes with new clientele.
Around one in five U.S. adults have a mental health condition. That’s almost 20% of the population. Slowly but surely, that number will increase, and when it does, you’ll have to accommodate new clients at your practice. Thus, it is vital that you ensure the scalability of your EHR software to ensure the smooth accommodation of these new clients and their data.
Choosing an EHR software for your mental or behavioral health practice can be exhausting work. However, as long as you stick to these tips, the process need not be so difficult.