5 Things to Consider When Choosing a New EHR for Your Mental and Behavioral Health Practice

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5 Things to Consider When Choosing a New EHR for Your Mental and Behavioral Health Practice

If you’re expanding your private practice or looking for a more suitable solution to meet your current needs, you’ve made the decision to get a new mental health EHR. But with countless options available, how do you choose the perfect one? Here are some key factors that mental and behavioral health professionals should consider when searching for a new EHR:

You Need Specialized Tools

You have firsthand experience with the unique challenges that come with mental and behavioral healthcare. Your EHR needs to be specialized in this field, taking into account billing intricacies and necessary documentation. This means having clinical tools that simplify the creation and support of treatment plans, billing options tailored to your specialty, and documentation that enhances your workflow rather than hindering it.

Mental health EHRs often come with specific templates and tools designed for conducting assessments, creating treatment plans, and monitoring progress. These features help therapists streamline their workflows and ensure comprehensive and evidence-based care for their patients.

Specialized EHRs may also include decision support tools like clinical guidelines and alerts for potential risks or contraindications. These tools assist therapists in making well-informed decisions about treatment options.

Make Compliance Easier

In today’s fast-paced healthcare landscape, finding the right balance between productivity, efficiency, and adherence to regulations is crucial. This is particularly true in our data-driven society, where technology plays a vital role in extracting valuable insights. However, it is essential to navigate through strict regulations and pass audits.

Specifically designed for mental and behavioral health care, electronic health records (EHRs) cater to the unique clinical data and regulations of this field. By utilizing a specialized EHR, therapists can ensure compliance with privacy and security standards like HIPAA, while also streamlining accurate and comprehensive documentation.

If you collaborate with insurance companies or government payers, it is essential to adhere to their regulations to secure reimbursement. Specialized EHRs offer advanced features that consider these factors, providing you with reminders to include accurate documentation and pre-designed templates that assist you in successfully navigating audits.

Usability and Functions

As a therapist, it often feels like software creators forget that you’re not a computer scientist. The key to a successful EHR is simplicity and ease of use, which translates to less time spent on training or trying to remember basic tasks. However, when shopping for an EHR, it’s crucial to be cautious as some options may appear user-friendly on the surface but hide a complex and frustrating experience underneath.

Before making a decision, ask yourself a few important questions:

  • What tasks do you perform most frequently on a daily basis?
  • Will the software help you complete these tasks more efficiently? Identify areas where you need improved efficiency, especially if you are switching EHR systems or find yourself falling behind on specific tasks. Your new software should be able to address these issues effectively.

Remember, it’s not just about aesthetics. While a visually appealing EHR may be tempting, it’s essential to dig deeper and ensure that it provides the functionality you need to excel at your job. Investigate buzzwords and claims such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) involvement in the EHR. Consider whether these features will genuinely benefit you or if alternative solutions like the Wiley Treatment Planner might be a better fit for your needs. While features like CPT codes may not be the most exciting, they are vital for submitting insurance claims efficiently.

Another crucial factor to consider is the prevalence of workarounds. Are you using additional software or resources outside of your EHR to compensate for its limitations? For example, do you rely on a separate billing system or perform processes on Excel? Ideally, your EHR should minimize the need for these workarounds, saving you valuable time and money in the long run.

Make an informed decision when selecting an EHR that truly empowers you as a therapist.

Why Integration is a Must-Have

What exactly does “integration” mean? In simple terms, it means that all the functions of your EHR are able to communicate seamlessly with each other. For instance, if you create a bill for a service you provided, your EHR should promptly notify you if any additional notes or documents need to be added. Similarly, if you use a client portal, any information entered there should automatically be incorporated into the client’s profile or scheduling.

A fully integrated EHR is like having your own personal assistant, streamlining your workflows by eliminating the need for manual data entry and paperwork. It automates various processes, such as appointment scheduling, billing, and coding, resulting in a significant boost in practice efficiency and saving valuable time. With quick and convenient access to patient information, providers can reduce administrative burdens and focus on what truly matters – providing the best care possible.

Think of integration as the art of automated communication. Instead of manually linking different components together, they all seamlessly “talk” to each other, saving you precious time and effort. It’s not just about having multiple components in your EHR; they need to be fully integrated to truly enhance your practice.


Regardless of the size of your current practice, it is unlikely to remain the same forever. It is crucial to ensure that your EHR system can assist you in managing the challenges that come with growth and help you scale your practice in the long run. Moreover, having an EHR designed to support growth makes it much easier to expand your operations compared to using an EHR that is only suitable for a specific practice size. Avoid getting trapped in limitations.

However, it is understandable that a solo practice may not have the same financial resources as a larger agency. So, how can you find a scalable solution that fits within your budget? One effective approach is to choose an EHR that allows you to select different levels and features. For instance, you can start with a basic platform and gradually add components and licenses as your practice expands its services and staff. This way, you begin with an affordable solution that can provide more advanced capabilities when needed in the future.

Consider the pricing structure as well. Some EHRs charge based on the therapist’s tier, while others charge based on the client’s tier. The most suitable pricing structure depends on your practice, but being charged per client tier may be more favorable if you have part-time staff or interns. Some practitioners prefer this approach as it directly correlates with their revenue, and they are not penalized for adding more staff.

Making the right decision when choosing an EHR can be challenging, but by keeping your long-term goals in mind and focusing on the bigger picture, you will discover a solution that enables you to make a difference in more people’s lives. Are you seeking additional guidance on selecting an EHR? Take a moment to explore this blog post, which delves into the essential tools required for your mental and behavioral health EHR.

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