How Academic Institutions Benefit from Adopting Behavioral Health EHRs

Tools for tomorrow’s workplace today

Academic institutions that offer programs for psychiatry and psychology students need to invest in behavioral health EHR software.  They want to offer their students the best software tools as well as the opportunity to step into the workforce ahead of their peers.  With training in sophisticated software applications these future leaders in behavioral health are better equipped to focus on patient care because they can capitalize on the growing trend to incorporate electronic health records (EHR) into clinical operations.

Many private practices in both the mental health and medical fields have made the transition from paper filing to EHR technology in recent years.  According to the American Psychological Association (APA) health care providers are able to tap into long-term cost savings that enhance office efficiency and make it easier to collect more accurate patient information.  But more importantly, EHRs enable communication across practice settings and facilitate interaction among healthcare professionals.

“EHRs are intended to replace a patient’s paper records,” writes Dr. Katherine C. Nordal in APA’s online blog, ‘Monitor on Psychology’ May edition of 2013.  “They differ from office management software in that EHRs are “interoperable” — meaning EHRs provide a more comprehensive overview of total patient health, allow greater patient participation in their own care and enable psychologists to demonstrate the value of psychological services by documenting better patient outcomes.”

outcomes

The benefits extend to colleges and universities, too

Independent clinics aren’t the only health care providers that can benefit from taking advantage of EHR technology.  In fact, now is an opportune time for colleges and universities to utilize software in their psychology and psychiatric health programs.   Because EHRs have quickly become such a standard part of the professional workplace, administrators and faculty must be willing to invest in technology that provides students with real, hands-on experience using these tools in an applicable behavioral health setting.

Academic institutions are also uniquely positioned to make the most out of EHRs.  For example, the online news publication Clinical Innovation and Technology reported the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) recently awarded a total of $893,000 in grants to three schools in Texas to develop a robust data-mining framework that may ultimately lead to more personalized patient care in the medical field.

“The increasingly large amounts of [EHR] data offer unprecedented opportunities for [EHR] data mining to enhance health care experiences for personalized intervention improve different diseases risk stratifications and facilitate understanding about disease and appropriate treatment,” the NSF stated in a report.

Integrating the practice within the institution

Academic institutions can leverage best-of-breed EHRs with built-in Clinical Outcome Measurements (GAD-7, Adult Symptom Screener, PHQ-9, etc.) to improve their own internal operations as well.  With the right technology, administrators have the ability to streamline many of the most complex aspects of the student management process.  Because such tools work seamlessly for both clinical and academic purposes, the same systems that organize information on patients can be used to track the progress of program participants and ultimately provide a more engaging framework for meeting graduation requirements.  Grabbing a proper hold of individual academic information is not only beneficial for faculty and staff, but students will also be more likely to complete their programs if they have easy access to all of the information they need to earn a diploma.

Growing the field

It is a benefit to an academic institution to have the best software available.  Psychology and psychiatric health programs which utilize and educate their students to become adept at EHR activities are attractive to students entering into a field that increasingly depends on these technologies.  The inclusion and use of Behavioral Health EHRs within their programs increases enrollment.  This is not only a boon to the broader institution, but to the entire mental health care field by educating future providers to more ably focus on patient care by minimizing precious time spent maintaining records.

How everythingEHR can help

Our advisory staff are experts in the field of Behavioral Health EHR technology.  We have guided the process for mental health providers, organizations, and academic institutions through the detailed process of vetting, acquiring, and adopting best-of-breed Behavioral Health EHR software.  Institutions that invest in the software tools their students need are ensuring the academic achievements of their students. Faculty and the student population want Cloud and Browser-based solutions that work seamlessly on iPads, Smartphones, Tablets, MACs, and PCs.  They also want integration with clinical curriculum-tracking software where students can not only track their clinical hours but also assess their instruction.  With the growing demand of EHR adoption it is necessary for academic institutions to provide EHR tools that are mental- and behavioral health-specific in order for students to excel as they graduate and enter the workforce as fully-qualified mental health professionals.

Our case study with John F. Kennedy University can be viewed here.

Please enjoy our radio show with Dr. Alvin McLean, Jr., a professor of clinical psychology and Co-Director of Clinical Training at John F. Kennedy University’s Doctorate in Clinical Psychology Program.

Our references with additional institutions are available upon request.

Kristin Sunanta Walker

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