Behavioural & mental health EHR: major products and players

The market for mental health EHR software has been notoriously difficult to model by virtue of the fact it exists in two distinct worlds. On one side, are established general medical practice EHR vendors whose products have been modified to fit the mental health market. On the other side, a developing core of vendors provide EHRs specifically designed for mental and behavioral health care practices.

Given its duality, this market’s future depends largely on how mental health EHR point solutions can stack up against the more established generalized EHR products. The products reviewed below represent a sample of the some of the mental health specific EHR products available in the marketplace.

1. Clinic Source

Clinic Source provides a fully integrated online EMR and practice management system featuring integrated documentation and billing. Clinic Source is fully HIPAA compliant and ONC-ACB 2014 certified. One of the recognized selling points found in this system involves its ability to integrate with treatment plans and notes. Further, practices can benefit from user access controls to restrict access to sensitive data and track modifications made.

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Feedback on the Clinic Source system is generally positive with practices praising the ease-of-use of the system. Also highlighted regularly is the efficiency of the documentation and billing systems which integrate with the EHR. Alongside the positive feedback for system features, Clinic Source users have also expressed their satisfaction with the customer support services offered. One of the few drawbacks noted by some users involves the programs lack of consistency.

2. ICANotes

ICANotes, a customizable EHR and practice management solution, operates on a button-driven charting interface, which according to the vendor is designed to speed up the personalized narrative notes with no typing or dictating. The user interface of ICANotes has been recognized for simplifying the tasks of data entry, dictation, and serves as the product's main selling point. The system also contains an “auto-coding” feature, which may be of interest to practices billing through Medicare or Medicaid programs, further simplifying the task of coding and billing.

Perhaps as a result of these features, many users have expressed their satisfaction with the system ease-of-use. On the downside, users note that ICANotes still relies on a remote desktop application that requires the installation of an additional application on the user’s computer rather than relying on access through a web browser. Further, mobile users report interface layout is tedious and largely unsuited for smaller screens found on tablets or other mobile devices.

3. Valant

Valant EHR for behavioral health offers a fully integrated suite featuring secure patient records, documentation, scheduling, practice management, and a patient portal. Valant provides a library of outcome measures for clinicians to utilize and track throughout treatment. Patients may complete these assessments remotely through the Patient Portal, or in session with the clinician. Results are then documented in clinical notes and securely stored in patient records.

Valant’s efforts in developing this functionality have been significant in distinguishing their product from the competition. However, this diverse range of features has caused some user frustration with regard to their ease of use. Valant has taken some steps to improve the system’s interface to make navigation easier; however, the system’s workflow still has a significant learning curve.

The main take away from the current offerings reviewed here is that mental and behavioral health specific EHR products still showing the normal growing pains of a developing technology. However, generalized EHR vendors have also not cracked the formula quite yet when tailoring their generalized products to fit within the behavioural and mental health EHR market.

Note: product information research conducted in October 2015. Please contact customerteam@ehrinpractice.com if you would like to report incorrect information. User sentiment discussed in this article is derived from a cross-section of public reviews.

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Jeff Green

About the author…

Jeff Green, MPH, JD works as a freelance writer and consultant in the Healthcare information Technology Space.

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Jeff Green

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