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Mental Health Awareness Month

Why Intake Tools Matter in an EHR

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When it comes to getting clients/patients involved in their care, providers have more tools than ever at their fingertips. In the digital age, transitioning as many processes as you can into quality digital alternatives is the best way to engage those you work with.

Digital intake changes how behavioral health providers collect the patient health information to offer the best care. Traditional intake, or the process of gathering client/patient information and history, was completed with paper and pen. Individuals coming in for a visit would first have to sit down and manually fill out intake forms so that their providers could have the information they needed to formulate a good starting point for their care.

Traditional paper intake is an error-ridden process that introduces quite a few issues into the care process. Those issues include: 

Poor Handwriting/Manual Transcription

Most individuals do not fill out intake forms with pristine handwriting. Why is this an issue? Well, when it comes time for a staff member to transcribe documents or incorporate them into an individual’s chart, important details get lost in translation. If handwriting is not readable, it does not help establish an accurate patient history, and errors are introduced into the care process. 

Lack of Access to Relevant Data

The more accurate information a behavioral health provider has at their fingertips, the better care they can offer. A detailed history enables therapists to assess knowledge across the entirety of an individual’s care, such as previous symptoms, previous forms of treatment, and more that helps formulate a plan for the future. Paper documents take time to transcribe and to appear in the individual’s chart. Even if providers have access to the paper document, they cannot always assess them as quickly as they could a digital copy. Without access to the whole history, providers do not have the entire picture and cannot make the best-informed decision.


Paper intake is historically inefficient. It takes longer for the individual to fill it out and your staff (or yourself) has to transcribe it into the electronic chart. Even then, there is no guarantee it has everything you need. 

While intake was once the best data collection method, there are better options available now. Digital intake solves these issues by automating the intake process from start to finish. Patients fill out their forms online, from a client portal, before visiting. Providers can set requirements for what information the individual must input before the documents are considered complete. Once the individual has completed the forms, that data is uploaded directly to their chart, eliminating the transcription process and ensuring providers have all of the information they need before the visit. 

A behavioral health EHR worth using should come equipped with digital intake capabilities so that you can introduce this process into your workflow as seamlessly as possible. Not only this, but individuals are more likely to complete digital forms than paper intake forms, engaging them in the care process from the start. 



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