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See how EHR's are helping all of us on our journey to better health and care!

Friday, October 7, 2016  by Travis Barker

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Behavioral Health EHR Selection and Implementation

Friday, September 16, 2016  by Travis Barker

For the past several years, behavioral health organizations and community nonprofits have delayed or altogether avoided implementing an electronic health record (EHR), fearing that the intimacy of their care prohibits technology use.

Additionally, EHRs have usually focused on recording information about physical health, and the choices for the Behavioral Health Care field have been inadequate. Factor in the expense of an EHR as an additional barrier, as providers are sometimes tentative or unable to raise funds for the technology, and it becomes easy to see why few organizations have embraced the technology.

 

These obstacles are evident when Community Non-profits and Behavioral Health providers finally begin searching for an EHR vendor. The different sizes, costs, and features of available systems ensure that each organization can find the proper fit for their needs. However, this can lead to a long search process. Obviously, any EHR product is not one size fits all. The exhaustive search is just the beginning of a lengthy process.

 

 

”EHRs are still in their youth (or adolescence), and have not yet grown into the hopes that many have for them. Templates for documentation ease of use, interoperability, ability to extract data fields, use as part of care algorithms, and responding to the multiple needs for functionality for a broad range of users are among the current issues being considered. Applications for behavioral care within EHRs suffer the same and perhaps greater frustrations of all EHR users: how to use the available technology to meet their needs.”

 

Rodger Kessler, PhD and Juvena R. Hitt, BS Journal of the American Board of family Medicine

Re: Electronic Health Record Challenges, Workarounds, and Solutions Observed in Practices Integrating Behavioral Health and Primary Care

 

How the Right EHR Can Revitalize Your Organization

An EHR makes it far easier to store and access patient information, which can improve the efficiency of smaller operations and ensure that the highest quality of patient care is able to be provided. A fully functioning EHR can expedite the claims process and speed up reimbursements. Still, only a few EHR providers dive deep into an organizations workflow process during the implementation period. This is a vital need for Behavioral Health Providers and Community Nonprofits who might not have the experience or resources required.

 

 

Cost

For most Community Nonprofits and many Behavioral Healthcare Providers, the cost of implementing an EHR is daunting and can often be a real barrier. However, it is important for these organizations to realize the actual cost of doing business with and without an effective Electronic Health Record in place.

 

The time, labor and effort needed to curate and maintain conventional paper records can be considerable. Facilities and organizations that have only a small staff may find that maintaining an outdated record system may leave them unable to deal with other concerns and more important issues.

Electronic records are designed to reduce costs while improving quality. Transitioning to electronic records allows for better adherence to the highest clinical guidelines, as they pertain to patient care. Billing becomes streamlined. Documentation is quicker and easily accessible to those that need it. Staff productivity increases along with client outcomes. Safety improvements, reduced cost, improved quality, and the many other additional benefits highly outweigh the hurdles of EHR adoption.

 

 

The hands on approach

 

When looking at perspective EHR systems, it is indeed important to pay attention to cost and features. However, due to the competiveness of the market, most EHR systems will have similar prices and specifications. For Behavioral Health Providers and Community Nonprofits, a key focus of their search should be gathering information on the implementation process.

 

EHR providers can span the entire gamut of service, from those that simply provide the product, to vendors that become like a partner to your organization. Those with a consistent, committed staff will help to ensure a smooth and successful implementation process.

 

When an EHR provider is able to supply hands on training, guidance, and assistance during implementation, the organization will benefit. Most Behavioral Health Providers and Community Nonprofits may not have any EHR implementation experience. An EHR provider that understands an organizations wants, needs, and goals can help tailor the system and give a hands on approach to ensure success of the EHR.

 

 

 

 

 

Key considerations according to www.HealthIT.gov

 

  • Define implementation support (amount, schedule, information on trainer(s) such as their communication efficiency and experience with product and company)

 

  • Clarify roles, responsibilities, and costs for data migration strategy if desired. Sometimes, being selective with which data or how much data to migrate can influence the ease of transition

 

  • Privacy and security capabilities and back-up planning

 

The National Council (2012).  - HIT Adoption and Readiness for Meaningful Use in Community Behavioral Health: Report on the 2012 National Council Survey. National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare.

Implementation

 

Implementing an EHR can seem daunting. The course of action for getting a system up and running roughly involves one-third technology and two-thirds in-house organizational processes. Smaller organizations should be prepared to handle the fact that staff will now shift their focus away from their normal duties and towards the implementation process.

Additionally, having an EHR provider that is available to help guide an organization through the process is invaluable. Smaller organizations without much EHR experience or lacking a large IT department should be wary of “plug and play” EHR systems with little or no training included. The few dollars saved in the short term are not worth the issues that will inevitably arise further down the road.

 

“EHR implementations are complex affairs. They are not simply IT projects. They are practice transformation projects that should be considered socio-technical-economic initiatives. If approached as simply software to be installed and users to be trained in using the software, an EHR implementation will undoubtedly falter or even fail.”

 

Robert E. Hoyt and Ann K. Yoshihashi

Health Informatics: Practical Guide for Healthcare and Information Technology Professionals

 

 

 

 

 

 

As electronic health records slowly gain acceptance within behavioral health providers and community non-profits, it becomes a competitive advantage to have a functioning EHR in place. The ability to provide documentation, financials, and other data, as well as ease of use will allow an organization to better pursue funding sources and grants. EHR systems that provide hands on training, superior customization and greater flexibility make it easier than ever for organizations to make the switch.

 

 

About Advix EHR

 

Advix is a web-based electronic health record and practice management system designed by trusted behavioral health professionals, for behavioral health and mental health providers. Advix behavioral health EHR offers a full-functioning, comprehensive software solution that gives your staff immediate and secure access to client data in a user-friendly, intuitive fashion.

 

Advix enables your organization to effectively manage clinical operations, quality improvement, resources, financial operations including claims, and schedules. The adoption of an EHR is as seamless as possible with the guidance of the Advix team of experienced behavioral health and IT professionals. Advix is the industry’s best value for a full-functioning, system for ambulatory and residential behavioral health services.

 

 

 

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Seven Tips to Win Conference Season

Monday, September 14, 2015  by Travis Barker

Conference season is here. Your travel plans may be a flight across country, or a quick drive to the nearest city. You may be staying in a crowded hotel, or might be fortunate enough to sleep in your own bed. No matter what your agenda, you want to get the most out of your conference. Below is just how you can do that.

1) Do your homework. Like it or not, you need to do your research in advance of the conference. It won’t take too long to find out who is speaking, who the exhibitors are, or if you have any business contacts that will be there. This will allow you to make some plans and ensure you have goals set for hearing the best topics and networking with those that are important to your organization. Most conferences list speakers and exhibitors on their website. Social media is a great way to see who else is attending.

2) Everything in moderation. Most conferences have too much food for you to eat. Some even have the alcohol freely flowing. Moderation is key to make sure you are on top of your game. After all, you are representing your organization and are looking to make a good impression. Sure, the three course lunch may look appetizing, but do you really want to be fighting off a food coma the rest of the day? It would be best to skip the dessert or leave some food on your plate. When it comes to the cocktail reception, it is wise to stick to the club soda or diet coke. You can still enjoy the reception without having that lampshade on your head.

3) Rise and Shine! Wake up early each day of the conference. Hit the gym for 20 minutes first thing in the morning to get your blood flowing. Have a healthy breakfast, pack a snack, and get to the conference early. This is the best time to network before the tired masses arrive. If you paid attention to tip #2 above, you should have no problem being bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and ready to make the most of your time at the conference.

4) Network smart. If you did your homework (tip #1) you should already have people and organizations in your sights to connect with. As for everyone else that is in attendance, keep your eyes and ears open and don’t shy away from a quick conversation. It is important to listen carefully when others are speaking as they may be able to help your organization (or more importantly, you could help theirs). Once you identify an opportunity, ask to follow up with them in a few days and be sure to take notes on their business card after your conversation is over. This will help you to better remember the information later. Speaking of business cards…

5) Be frugal with your business cards. Yes, they are inexpensive. Yes, your company gave you a new box of 500 business cards before the conference. Yes, we can see your fancy new logo. This still does not make it okay to hand a card to everyone you pass. Think of a reasonable number of new contacts that you want to make during the conference. Do you have that number in mind? Good. Now cut that number in half. That’s how many business cards you will take with you.

6) Be memorable. In a good way of course! Go beyond the normal conference chit chat and be someone that people won’t soon forget.  Organize a quick but fun group outing somewhere nearby. Is there a walking tour in the city? Does a local restaurant brag about having the best BBQ this side of the Mississippi? Are the views from the top of a certain skyscraper not to be missed? Make the plan by setting up the time and place to meet, and then start to invite other conference goers. Most people would appreciate a chance to step away from the hotel (and maybe their coworkers) to enjoy some local flavor and continue networking in a more relaxed setting.

7) Enjoy yourself! We have all seen those conference goers that would rather be anywhere else. Maybe they didn’t pay attention to tip #2 and ran out of steam just as the conference was getting started. Maybe they are constantly checking their work emails. Next time they should just sign up for a webinar. You attended the conference to learn, network, and enjoy yourself. Happiness is contagious after all. People will enjoy talking (and networking) with you if you are smiling and enjoying yourself.

What are your conference tips? Share them in the comments section below.

Written by: Travis Barker BSW, MBA

Director of Business Development, Sales and Marketing

Advix EHR

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“Succeed In Choosing Your New Or Replacement EHR”

Thursday, August 27, 2015  by Travis Barker

Advix_EHRSelectionWebinar_22615.pdf

Take a look at this free Executive Web Briefing!

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Coding and Documenting in the ICD-10 and New DSM-5: Many Complex Concerns

Thursday, February 27, 2014  by Travis Barker

Coding in ICD-10 will represent a significant change in the behavioral healthcare industry. First, clinicians will likely have to use both the DSM and ICD criteria for diagnostic and clinical documentation purposes. Second, as previously mentioned, there are major differences between the DSM-5 and the ICD-10. For example, Asperger’s Disorder has been removed from the DSM-5, and is now in the Autism Spectrum Disorder category. However, Asperger’s Disorder is listed in the ICD-10, along with its respective specific clinical descriptions and diagnostic criteria. The complexity of diagnosing for clinical and treatment purposes, while concurrently diagnosing for claims purposes, will require changes in workflows.

A major difference between the DSM-5 and ICD-10 involves the Substance Use Section. While the DSM-5 eliminates the distinction between chemical abuse and dependence, the ICD-10 retains the categories of use, abuse, and dependence. There are significantly more substance use diagnoses in the ICD-10 than there are in the DSM-5. Because diagnoses in the DSM-5 have numerous possible iterations in the ICD-10, clinicians expecting a one-to-one code match need to be aware this is not the case.

The ICD-10 lists 10 substances for clinical focus in the Substance Use section while the DSM-IV-TR lists 13. While this is helpful in streamlining diagnostic categories, the number of actual diagnoses in each category has jumped exponentially in the ICD-10. For example in the DSM-IV-TR, there are 9 diagnoses involving Cannabis. In the ICD-10 there are now 44 different possible diagnoses involving Cannabis.

Another concern is that a single diagnosis code may represent very different conditions, ultimately necessitating more detailed clinician documentation. An example of this is the ICD-10 code of F31.64, Bipolar I Disorder, Mixed-category. The distinction between a)severe with psychotic features, b) with mood-congruent psychotic symptoms, and c) mood-incongruent symptoms is not reflected in the code number assigned since all three options are coded the same in the ICD-10. Therefore, in this example the distinction must be made in the clinical documentation portion of the medical record. In the Substance Use category, the need for documentation to delineate the diagnosis is further reflected in the DSM-5 code of F16.94, which can represent four separate diagnoses.

Improving clinical documentation requirements will be important for regulatory and auditing purposes. Given the inherent differences in the DSM-5 versus the ICD-10, decisions will need to be made about coding, diagnosing, terminology, and clinical documentation. One recommendation during this transition period is to establish a Clinical Documentation Improvement program for your organization.

Crosswalks

In order to help providers arrive at the correct diagnosis in the ICD-10, “crosswalks” have been developed to help bridge the translation between the DSM and ICD. Crosswalks typically map between the DSM and the ICD-10 codes to enable the clinician to pick the right code for billing purposes. However, simply cross-walking between the DSM-IV-TR or DSM-5 to the corresponding ICD-10 code will not produce an accurate code number. The ICD-10 is more specific and contains many more diagnoses in the behavioral health section than the DSM-5 contains. This is referred to as the “one-to-many” diagnosis concept of the ICD-10.

It is recommended that you do not attempt to crosswalk every single diagnosis in the DSM to the ICD. Rather, take your most frequently used codes and build your own crosswalk. This will ensure that all of your clinicians use the same desk reference materials to arrive at the right code in the ICD-10.

 

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Advanced Behavioral Health, Inc. ABH Enterprises, LLC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of ABH, Inc.