Samaritan Institute Conference 2015: How to Vet and Implement a Behavioral Health EHR
Every year the Samaritan Institute holds their annual conference. The talk tracks this year focused heavily on tele-behavioral health as well as EHR selection, implementation and clinical workflow. Our CEO, Kristin Walker, was asked to present with Dr. Carol Pitts on electronic health records. The sessions were full and they had a line of people waiting to talk to each of them at the conclusion of the presentations.
The importance of working with vendors that have the proper credentials in behavioral health was part of the discussion. They also discussed the travails but necessary journey of moving from a Behavioral Health EHR that ceases to meet the needs of a behavioral health agency to one that is designed as an enterprise-wide and browser-based EHR.
While the Samaritan Institute does not recommend one EHR over another, they do rely on Kristin Walker as the Subject Matter Expert for EHR technology. Our team was here to answer questions regarding the proper vetting of a potential vendor. While we admit that the “perfect” EHR does not exist, it is important to follow a set of guidelines when it comes to looking for a system. It isn’t just about the software. Finding out more about the organization that created the technology is just as important.
One of the key components for everythingEHR is around a Behavioral Health organization properly vetting the EHR vendor. Marketing campaigns can make a vendor seem credible, reliable, and with advanced technology. One only need do a little digging to find the organization has fewer than a dozen staff members, no mental health clinicians on staff, and a legacy interface with installed software rather than a cross platform (Tablets, iPads, Smartphones) and browser independent solution.
Dr. Pitts discussed the expectations management should have for every organization when adopting their first EHR. It is very different than the expectations needed when making that all important migration to the next generation system. As the Behavioral Health EHR market continues to become more saturated, vendors are struggling to not only find new users but keep their existing user base happy. She also discussed the need for organizations to look at whether outsourcing their billing is the right move.
Switching to a new EHR is a huge undertaking but keeping your providers happy with advanced technology designed by actual on staff clinicians is paramount. The need for integrated billing and an EHR designed so the burden of claim filing is handled by the system not the end user. It is very important to eliminate 837/835 file submissions to insurers and clearinghouses. This means choosing an EHR that has direct integration to payers and/or clearinghouses.
The Samaritan Institute is an exciting organization to serve. We will be offering more complimentary webinars with experts in the field of Behavioral Health which include some of our esteemed guests on Mental Health News Radio.
If you have any questions from our conference material please contact our office.
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