Jonathan Woods of Comprehensive Mental Health Services discusses documentation and the continuity of care
Producing positive results for patients in a behavioral healthcare setting is largely driven by the quality of documentation. Recording important details and measuring outcomes are quintessential aspects of an effective care strategy, and this is especially true when collaboration is required to maintain the continuity of care—either if a provider is indisposed, or if a consultation is needed to determine the best course of action.
Jonathan Woods, LCSW, director at Comprehensive Mental Health Services in New Jersey, understood the importance of effective note taking through some challenges that he and his practice were experiencing first hand. Some of his providers were meticulous and thorough in their documentation, yet others stood to improve. Valant’s robust documentation features meant that, for the practice, the floor of note taking quality rose considerably. Additionally, the tools helped save a lot of time for everyone.
“That was one of the reasons we purchased it,” Woods explained. “I was thinking, okay, there is a real opportunity here to improve the overall quality of note taking, and this provides the sort of structure that I think can make that happen and, in fact, it did happen.”
Software takes a lot of the busywork out of the documentation process. Drop-down selection fields and automated narrative generation make it easy to create quality documentation in a fraction of the time.
Raising the floor
“The quality of the notes here has improved,” Woods recalled. “In my world, the most perfect note is a narrative note that you can just produce off the top of your head, but people produce really good notes using dropdown menus and generate narrative. It’s been very good that way. We no longer have challenges we once did. I used to think this does not touch on everything you would like a note to touch on and that just doesn’t happen any more so that’s good; that’s a very good thing.”
Good note taking will always be an important part of quality care. Software may never be able to replace the human element necessary to drive the note taking process, but it can at least eliminate a lot of the cognitive overhead. “I don’t think about it very much,” said Woods, “which is my favorite aspect about Valant.” The removal of busywork helps private practices raise the collective standard of documentation quality, which in turn improves the continuity of care.
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