Behavioral health presents a large number of challenges when it comes to sharing information and following the unique life situation of patients. Through inability, forgetfulness or unwillingness, you may not learn of certain medications or other treatments that may conflict with therapy or account for certain behavioral changes. Just the same, your information could help other medical professionals and social workers with known information to work on.
Consider a few features to look for or request when selecting your behavioral health electronic health record (EHR) suite:
Plain Text Conversion
The medical industry is full of formats and styles. Even after the world of computerized document management made its way into the medical industry, many different software suites vied for dominance. Different software formats didn't communicate with each other and still may not work well, but there are ways around such problems.
Odds are you'll be working with other practices who use completely different management software. To get around this issue, a plain text conversion option should be available at the bare minimum. This is unfortunately not available with many software suites as they tend to want a proprietary system to drive market dominance, but some systems know the benefits of sharing information easily.
Plain text is almost always readable by the major operating systems used in the world. Even if another medical practice, social service or behavior health institute is unable to work with your program, their word processing program should be able to open plain text. Other popular formats can be made available to allow other formatting options, but confirm at least plain text.
Secure Contact List Management
For security and privacy reasons, you may not want to accidentally email or fax a patient's information to the wrong practice. When similar names or fast typing make mistakes far too easy to encounter, you'll want to have a separate contact list that can't be mistaken for the rest of your contacts in bigger software suites.
Request that software designers develop a contact list that belong to the behavioral health EHR alone. This list won't be able to accidentally bring up sales teams, personal contacts or family members who may not need the information in such a fast and invading fashion. Each record should have only relevant professionals who have a "need to know" or specific reason for accessing the information.
The key to great practice software is more than just what's on the box. Contact an EHR design team to request modifications to their code that work for you.