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  • Writer's pictureMuhammad Sair Khan

The Benefits of Health IT for Behavioral Health Patients and Providers

In today’s world, technology plays a role in almost all aspects of life, including health. Health information technology (Health IT) is a rapidly expanding field that is changing how care is delivered and how patients can interact with their care.

The largest, most recognizable facets of health IT is the electronic health record (EHR). The electronic health record contains all the information about a patient that a paper chart would include. However, they also have built-in capabilities that can make different parts of delivering care easier, including physician consultations, billing, and patient communications. Using an EHR properly can benefit your behavioral health facility—and your patients—in many ways.

More Efficient, Cost-Effective Care

Though the initial switch to an EHR can be expensive, you can find financial support through the government or other sources to lower these costs. Once an EHR is in place, you’ll be able to save both time and money when delivering care.

For instance, when you use an integrated EHR, your clinical team will have easy access to the patient’s prior history, diagnosis coding, prescriptions and more. EHR systems have the ability to transmit medical records among different providers, request lab work and even access billing data. When claims are denied, your team can set alerts within the EHR for follow-up, helping you recover the money you deserve.

Health IT, including EHRs, are necessary to deliver value-based care. Many payors are switching to a value-based care model that requires and rewards efficient use of technology. By adopting and properly using an EHR, you can help ensure your facility receives higher reimbursement through CMS’ Quality Payment Program (QPP)

Improved Patient Outcomes

An EHR system can improve patient care by allowing easier access and communication with your patient's previous providers. This will help you avoid duplicating tests and could even give a baseline measurement for comparison.

Some EHRs will also alert you if your patient is at risk for a medication interaction. Because most EHR systems are integrated with pharmacies and other health facilities who participate, any information pertaining to prescription drugs is automatically shared through the EHR system. This function helps support quality outcomes.

EHRs improve patient safety by improving the accuracy of information. The patient will not have to remember their complete medical history or try to gather records from every doctor they have seen. Additionally, since providers input information directly into the system, there is less of a chance of transcription errors.

More Patient-Centered Care

An EHR can help a patient receive more convenient care. It also allows them to be more involved in their care. For instance, you can send an e-prescription through the EHR directly to the patient’s pharmacy. This means patients can get prescriptions they need quickly without the hassle of paper prescriptions.

Patients can also participate in their care through patient portals. Patient portals are built into many EHRs. They are a secure connection to their records so they can see their lab results, request appointments, communicate with your care team, request a prescription refill, or even have a telehealth encounter. Some EHRs even offer health apps to help patients track and manage their care.

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