Mental Health News Radio

Ahead of the Curve: Anticipating the Excellence in Mental Health Act

curve“Excellence in Mental Health” can mean a number of things, but in healthcare, the phrase signifies momentous changes coming down the pipeline.  And with a proposed 1.5 million people soon to be enabled in finding access to care, my anticipation is that this is going to significantly impact practices’ need for effective EHR technology.

The bipartisan 2014 Excellence in Mental Health Act outlines criteria for practices to become Certified Community Behavioral Health Centers (CCBHC). Once certified, centers are eligible for grants awarded to re-construct facilities and expand programs.

The change is exciting. Legislation hopes to assist providers in overcoming barriers between people and services, and points to technology to achieve this aim. Outlined within the Act are steep expectations for practices. And – in large part – it’s up to technology to help realize these standards. And EHR’s as well as providers will need to be ready for this.

Work, An Intimate Act: Workplace Communication and EHR Adoption

Work: An Intimate Act

Intimacy, the workplace, and EHR adoption…it reads like a joke. The kind that uses the bizarre coupling of concepts and leads to the punchline, “…so the duck says, “Put it on my bill.””

Yet, as a caregiver committed to organizational fitness I believe that a broader view of population health is where we are headed. And now that the ACA is actively defining ‘workplace wellness’, there has never been a more perfect time to explore the relational overlap of work, intimacy, and EHR adoption.

Talking about personal interactions at work implies a relatively new demand being placed on the work environment; one for sustainability that refers to personal as well as professional systems. Not that ‘relations’ haven’t always been a part of management concerns. But with the continued lengthening of work hours and decline in job security – stressors not softened by social supports like paid family leave and universal child care – interpersonal dynamics often associated with private life are making the scary leap into the workplace. And as leaders promoting the bandwidth for this conversation, it may feel risky at times – but probably not as much as we fear.

Mental Health in Italy: An Interview with Dr. Paolo Molino

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I was lucky enough to spend the month of July this year in Italy with our CEO and host of Mental Health News Radio, Kristin Walker. Armed with high speed internet in our villa and the fact that Kristin does 75% of her work via phone and email, she was able to vacation some, work a lot, and spend some time volunteering.  We were also there to grieve the passing of her father, my husband. Amidst all of this activity I wondered how she could possibly fit in volunteer work. But, not to worry, in one day she located ten volunteer organizations in Florence and fired off a simple email request asking if they would were available to discuss the work they do within the mental health community of Florence.  This led to an invitation to meet with Dr. Paolo Molino, a local psychotherapist.   

I went with Kristin to meet Dr. Molino (he prefers Paolo) at his office for 30 minutes, but he was so obviously enjoying their discussion that after 90 minutes he invited us to come with him to pick up his preschool daughter so they could continue talking.  Their discussion ranged from why he chose this field and how he built his practice (he speaks excellent English as well as French, so can also work with foreign clients), the education and credentialing process in Italy, and his preference for therapy treatments (Gestalt).  Just incidentally we also got a chance to be in the neighborhoods, not just the tourist areas, see a private Italian apartment-home, and drive (wildly!) through the streets to the local school.  

It was important for Kristin to find out what his views were on mental health, what stigmas there are in Italy as opposed to the United States, and what his experience as a practitioner were like day-to-day. She told him about Mental Health News Radio and her audience of mostly behavioral health providers in the United States (we have a small but growing number in Ireland and the U.K.). 

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From Selling to Advising: A Word From Our CEO – Updated

truthI was recently asked to describe the moment when I stopped selling electronic health record (EHR) software and truly became an advocate for providers in the world of behavioral health and record cycle management.  How had this happened?  Why?

Doing research for my organization, something important had become apparent:  The behavioral healthcare market is not the most profitable of healthcare markets, and nor is it likely to become so.  As a matter of fact many EHR vendors avoid serving this community entirely.  And, although there may be many reasons for this, one obvious factor is that public mental and behavioral health patients are among the poorest of patient communities. Behavioral health providers receive some of the lowest in insurance reimbursements.  In addition to these facts, mental health advocates find that the rules and regulations they must follow are stringent and highly-regulated.

Measuring Success: Behavioral Health Outcome Measurements and the Affordable Care Act

Sustainability and Structure

CairnThere are many factors contributing to the changes we see occurring within mental and behavioral health care: policy, resources, emerging technology and modalities, not to mention the day to day needs of both staff and clients. Adroitly providing service within this atmosphere of change is a central challenge for any practice.

To do so with stability – and sustainability – recognizes the utility of having a measurement strategy that is easy to use, reliable, and relevant. Emerging Behavioral Health Outcome Management (BHOM) technology offers just this type of strategy for programs to confidently step forward and meet evolving client as well as organizational needs. And finding a BHOM that works for your practice lends your organization authority by demonstrating in measureable terms your successes and ability to make relevant changes.

The Art of Asking: Searching for a Behavioral Health EHR

 

askquestionsWhen looking for innovative solutions to challenges associated with managing a mental or behavioral healthcare practice, we know that asking the ‘right’ questions often leads to solutions unthought-of before.  These not only address immediate concerns, but propel our practices into the future we want for ourselves and our clients. 

Finding the best Mental Health EHR for your practice is a journey that can begin as simply as What?  Why? and, most importantly, How?

  • What challenges does our practice face that can be addressed by an EHR? 
  • What needs aren’t being met within our practice that could be met with an EHR?
  • What haven’t I thought of when considering what I want an EHR to do for our practice that might make a difference?
  • Why have we continued to use our current information and record keeping systems as long as we have?
  • Why have we hesitated from adopting an EHR up until now?
  • Why haven’t we stepped up to these challenges and incorporated new policies that will address some of the needs of our organization?
  • How can we graduate from our current EHR that may have done an okay job of getting us off of paper, but is now crippling productivity and staff moral? 
  • How can we make a case for moving to a better behavioral health EHR?

Care of the Caregiver: Juggling Care, Self-Care, Paperwork. Can a Behavioral Health EHR Help or Hurt?

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Juggling…with One Hand Behind Our Back!

Providers are constantly building upon their understanding of the struggles that their clients face. New developments lead the way as practices consider and reconsider the effectiveness of their programs. Often they are working with hands tied by bureaucracy and by the limited availability of resources, and the limited time they have with their clients. 

Mental Health EHRs: A Billing Company Perspective

confusedThe definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting a different result. This is what it is like for many behavioral health practices. They continue using an EHR that cannot help them and could be hurting their practice. Change is difficult especially when you have invested time, money, and energy into one of the biggest financial decisions your practice will make. I know this from personal experience and so do my providers. 

“When you’re the only sane person, you look like the only insane person.” ―Criss Jami   

It is fast becoming imperative for all mental health providers to use electronic health records. Our clients have been with us for years. We handle their back office. We make sure they get paid and their practice grows. Of course they came to us with that all important question: Which EHR should we choose?  We did what so many behavioral health organizations have done and jumped in headfirst with an EHR without properly testing the product or the company behind it.  Ouch.  

Psychology and Psychiatry Students: Tracking Clinical Hours with Time2Track

brain“Losing track of time is a sign of a fully engaged brain.”
 – Author unknown

Rightly so…as students and professionals within mental and behavioral healthcare have plenty enough to think about without spending disproportionate time: tracking clinical hours, charting and completing analysis, compiling data into graphs and reports, following up with supervisors, meeting professional and student guidelines, and keeping client data clearly organized.  

The process can seem never ending.

Here at everythingEHR we know how important and challenging it can be to track clinical hours and store data with software while managing your practicum and curriculum requirements.   We also know how a clunky system – whether in school or the workplace – can eat hours of your day and deter you from what you truly love to do. 

Behavioral Health EHRs: A Walk in the Cloud

BehavioralHealthEHRCloudAs advocates for agencies who manage valuable patient information we are asked daily which EHR a behavioral health provider should choose.  Buzz words are often thrown around such as “cloud-based” and “web-access”, which for many still are intangible terms when it comes to record security and applicability.

Cloud Computing

More than a decade ago, engineers figured out ways for data and software to be distributed efficiently across several machines and their power pooled for collective use. In the simplest of terms, cloud computing means storing and accessing data and programs over the Internet instead of a computer’s hard drive.  A cloud computing platform refers to the efficient management of systems and networks of data storage over the Internet.  The term itself is an airy metaphor for systems of intelligently orchestrated global networks of millions of computers, harnessing, using, and then renting huge amounts of computing power.  It no longer matters which servers are running a job or from where; it is just inside this “cloud” of machines. 

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