As the founder of a mental health clinic, you must ensure smooth communication between patients, doctors, and nurses. Your behavioral health practice will benefit from compliant and efficient communication with patients. For instance, it will affect the accessibility and authenticity of your therapy or counseling services. 

To do that, you need an electronic health record (EHR) offering services for behavioral health. A behavioral health EHR system can help with billing, medical records, prescribing, and patient engagement. Technically, these specialized EHRs reduce your workload by automating some caregiving features to make your patients healthy and happy. 

Even with such benefits, only 6% of behavioral health facilities use EHR systems. For most of them, communication using EHR software has been a challenge. However, these tools improve appointment scheduling and reduce patient wait times. In this blog, we will help you understand how to choose a behavioral EHR system and enhance communication between your clinic and patients using it. 


How to Choose a Mental Health EHR for Your Clinic?

As mentioned earlier, implementation of mental health EHRs is slower in the behavioral health industry compared to physical health facilities. Therefore, most clinics use outdated data collection methods, leading to a lag in the workflow. Only 46% of psychiatric hospitals use EHR systems, but 91% of general hospitals use EHRs. 

These EHRs will help you communicate with patients, manage their records, streamline workflow, and support unique needs. You can also access these digital tools to boost collaboration and enhance treatment plans. Companies like Accumedic state behavioral EHR systems offer improved patient care, optimal efficiency, enhanced patient access, and modernized organizational standards. 

Therefore, you should check the following features before choosing an EHR for your behavioral health clinic: 

  • Ability to seamlessly store, access, and create patient data 
  • Dedicated patient portal with in-app messaging features 
  • Integrated telemedicine and telehealth software 
  • Mobile support options with reporting and billing features 

Find a specialized EHR system geared toward mental health professionals. Then, you must identify your clinic’s requirements and choose a service with responsive customer support. Accumedic Computer Systems suggests that behavioral health EHRs should be compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). 


3 Ways to Improve Communication Using EHRs

Mental health clinic founders can use these tips to improve communication between staff and patients with the help of EHRs: 

#1. Embracing Telehealth Services

Reports suggest an integrated telehealth system with interoperable EHRs can enhance health outcomes, lower costs, and improve patient experiences. This patient communication tool in mental health EHRs can help with appointment reminders, online therapy, and messaging. Hence, integrating telehealth into specialized EHRs can offer benefits like: 

  • Real-time and easy access to patient medical records
  • Improved clinical decision-making 
  • Better documentation and the elimination of duplicity 
  • Simplified scheduling and billing with streamlined patient data tracking 

Telehealth improves communication by enhancing coordination and reporting. Moreover, using a HIPAA-compliant telehealth system in your behavioral health EHR solution offers video conferencing features while protecting the data. A fully integrated telehealth system for mental health EHRs will use centralized data to reduce liability and improve communication.

#2. Focusing On Secure Patient Portals 

Most specialized EHR systems come with HIPAA-compliant patient portals. All you have to do is ensure interaction through these fully integrated portals. This way, your patients can manage their care options securely. Examples include the following: 

  • Signing forms electronically 
  • Paying or viewing bills 
  • Managing appointments 
  • Accessing their data 

You should also consider mobile app compatibility or functionality to ensure efficient communication. Statistics suggest that 22% of patients prefer accessing their medical reports through smartphones. Hence, you should look for a behavioral health EHR system offering a mobile-friendly patient portal. 

#3. Patient-Centric Automation

According to Medical Economics, most healthcare practices are focused on patient-centric technologies and solutions. Examples include patient-friendly payment models, process automation, and remote patient monitoring. However, you cannot integrate all of these into a mental health EHR solution. 

Instead, you can focus on personalized communications using automated messaging. For many mental health practice owners, automated messaging seems impersonal. However, it is an essential tool to keep patients engaged and provide reminders. 

You can use the patient portal and telehealth communication features to send automated messages to your patients. Furthermore, text messages are more effective than phone calls or automated emails. 

The right EHR tool can help you send automated and patient-specific messages while respecting patient preferences. But remember, these messages should comply with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). 


The Bottom Line

Many mental health clinics face EHR implementation challenges. For instance, they have data privacy concerns, financial constraints, and usability hurdles. One way to overcome these challenges is by choosing a HIPAA-compliant system. Hence, your mental health practice’s data will have integrity, privacy, and security. 

With a HIPAA-compliant system, you must focus on EHR communication between your healthcare team and patients. This way, EHRs can reduce turnaround times for query resolution on care instructions or billing questions. Remember to get the most out of your mental health EHR software.