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There are many tools out there to help behavioral health providers offer their patients the best care possible. This is especially true in the wake of telehealth gaining traction during the pandemic. But using more tools doesn’t always mean better results—sometimes it just means added complexity and cost. An all-in-one EHR (electronic health record) can help you ensure that you offer patients the personalization and flexibility they deserve, while also making it simpler to manage your practice.

Paying for one comprehensive tool, rather than several different ones, reduces costs and saves time—you’ll be freed from managing multiple subscriptions and vendors. With one simple solution in place, you won’t have to worry about switching from tool to tool, dealing with clunky integrations, patients having a poor experience, or concerns about compliance or security.

The Challenge of Managing Multiple Tools

The administrative burden of managing multiple third-party tools can hinder your ability to focus on what matters most—patient care. When using separate payment software, telehealth software, and appointment scheduling tools, for example, it’s less convenient for your patients and your practice. The more friction and hurdles patients face, the worse their experience is. An all-in-one EHR simplifies things for everyone, ultimately improving patient care.

Behavioral health as a field has its own unique needs, making it more likely that you have had to piece together a patchwork of tools to handle different aspects of your practice. For example, one tool for appointment scheduling (e.g., Calendly), another for billing and payment processing, a separate telehealth platform for virtual sessions, and yet another tool for notetaking. While each tool may serve a purpose individually, managing and integrating multiple tools can be time-consuming at best. And switching between different software applications can lead to inefficiencies and errors.

  • Information may not flow smoothly between tools, leading to delays or difficulties, such as with appointment confirmations or accessing patient records.
  • Clinicians may need to enter patient information multiple times, increasing the risk of mistakes or inconsistencies.
  • Learning to use and maintain multiple tools can be time-consuming, for both clinicians and staff.

These challenges demonstrate the need for a more cohesive solution.

The Advantages of All-in-One EHR

An all-in-one EHR is a comprehensive platform that gives behavioral health professionals all the necessary features and capabilities in a single, integrated system. With everything in one place, data flows seamlessly among scheduling, billing, telehealth, patient records, and other functions. Data encryption and security features can safeguard patient data, with fewer potential points of entry.

Working within one tool simplifies workflows and saves your practice time. And patients have a better, more unified experience, with less friction and hassle.

William Betts, PMHNP-BC, founder of Betts Psychiatric PC, wanted a tool that would be a one-stop shop for providers, staff, and patients. He searched for something that could streamline administrative tasks, without reducing the quality of the processes, so that more time and attention could be devoted to patient care. Valant software met all his practice’s needs.

“No matter what industry you’re in, the systems and processes are what makes the quality product,” Betts says. “In our case, that’s the outcomes, and how we’re able to interact with and treat our patients.” Read more about his experience here.

Replacing Third-Party Scheduling Tools

An effective therapist scheduling software should be seamless and hassle-free to use—for both patients and staff. Third-party scheduling tools, such as Calendly or Jotform, may offer convenience up front but often require manual integration with EHRs. Even if done correctly, that can lead to data silos and inefficiencies.

An all-in-one EHR, though, seamlessly integrates scheduling with the rest of the system. This means:

  • Unified scheduling: Schedule appointments, manage availability, and send automated reminders all within the EHR.
  • Real-time updates: Changes made to the schedule are reflected immediately, reducing the risk of double-bookings or missed appointments.
  • Patient portals: Patients can request appointments, view availability, and receive reminders through a dedicated portal.

Having scheduling within the EHR makes the process faster and easier for everyone involved.

Replacing Billing and Payment Processing Tools

When it comes to billing and payment processing, accuracy obviously matters. But third-party payment software may require manual data entry, leading to errors, delayed payments, or even compliance issues. An all-in-one EHR automates the billing process, helping practices ensure accuracy and even improve revenue management. With the capabilities of an EHR, you can gain insights into the financial performance of your practice and track key metrics, such as revenue and expenses.

Other EHR billing features to look for are automatic invoicing, where invoices are generated based on session records, or payment tracking, where payments can be tracked and outstanding balances can be identified.

EHR tools can help you with the billing and documentation requirements that behavioral health professionals face. For example, ensuring that claims are submitted with the necessary documentation, and that your practice adheres to the relevant regulatory standards, reduces your risk of penalties. Plus, submitting claims electronically means that bills are processed and submitted to insurance providers faster, meaning faster reimbursement for the services rendered.

And, as your practice grows, EHR software can scale to accommodate increased billing and administrative demands.

Replacing Telehealth and Video Conferencing Tools

Telehealth has become a vital component of behavioral health, but relying on separate telehealth platforms can be cumbersome. A well-designed telehealth experience can be more efficient than a traditional in-person visit. With reduced wait times and no travel-related stress, patients can have convenient, high-quality care.

An EHR that offers built-in telehealth capabilities simplifies that process for both clinicians and patients. Seamless integration with scheduling, session notes, and more not only enhances the patient experience but also improves clinician efficiency.

Patients who have a positive telehealth experience are more likely to continue their relationship with their provider, and more likely to follow treatment plans. Ensuring that patients know that their telehealth interactions are secure and private contributes to a positive patient experience.

Ensuring Data Security and Compliance

Patient security and privacy are paramount—that trust is important to gain and to keep. Transitioning to an all-in-one EHR may raise concerns about data security and compliance, particularly regarding HIPAA regulations. HIPAA focuses on ensuring that patient health information is handled properly.

It’s essential to note that reputable EHR providers prioritize data security and compliance. EHR systems adhere to HIPAA regulations and other security standards, so patient data is staunchly protected. There are multiple layers to this protection. For example, within EHR systems, both data transmission and data storage are encrypted. In addition, EHRs offer role-based access controls, allowing practices to manage who can access sensitive data.

By selecting a trusted EHR provider and implementing best practices, you can safeguard data integrity.

Cost Savings and Return on Investment

One of the most compelling reasons to adopt an all-in-one EHR is the potential for significant cost savings. While there may be an upfront investment involved, the long-term financial benefits are substantial:

  • Reduced subscription costs: Eliminating multiple third-party tools and their associated subscriptions means ongoing savings.
  • Efficiency gains: You and your staff will save time on data entry and other administrative tasks. Improved efficiency can lead to increased patient appointments and revenue.
  • Minimized errors: Fewer billing errors mean better revenue management and reduced revenue loss.
  • Improved patient experience: A positive patient experience increases the likelihood that patients continue to engage with their providers, meaning higher patient retention rates, as well as reduced no-shows or cancellations.

Implementing and Training with an All-in-One EHR

Transitioning from using multiple third-party tools to an all-in-one EHR requires planning, training, and implementation.

First, it’s important to develop a transition plan that minimizes disruption to patient care during the implementation process. This includes having a data migration plan that ensures existing patient data is migrated to the new EHR to maintain continuity of care.

With proper planning and training, the transition can be a smooth and positive experience for your practice. Ensure that all staff members are proficient in using the EHR to optimize its capabilities through both up-front and ongoing training. The difficulty involved in managing multiple tools outweighs the difficulty of transitioning to a new all-in-one system.

Streamlining your behavioral health practice with an all-in-one EHR saves you time so that you can focus on your clients. A software solution designed specifically for behavioral health practices, as Valant is, will include all of the features you need in one easy-to-use tool.

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