April 14, 2022

Why your practice needs a mental health EHR, especially if you offer advanced intervention and treatment

Written by

Carlene MacMillan, MD

If you’re starting up a clinic or adding interventional mental health services to your practice, including ketamine therapy, SPRAVATO(R), psychedelic medicine, or neuromodulation such as TMS, an EHR that can handle specialized treatments and workflows will save you time and help you deliver a better patient experience. 

Why mental health practices specializing in breakthrough treatments need a purpose-built EHR

Osmind talks with clinicians across the country, and most have noted that a flexible, modern electronic health record platform that’s designed for breakthrough mental health interventions, such as ketamine therapy, psychedelic medicine, SPRAVATO(R), and other innovative treatments, is essential.

Whether you’re starting a new practice or clinic focused on ketamine or another breakthrough treatment, or adding treatments to your existing psychiatry practice, we’ll discuss the main reasons why you need a specific EHR.

1) Breakthrough treatments (including ketamine) require new workflows.

A modern mental health EHR should save your practice time, with workflows that are built for newer treatments, such as ketamine. These treatments require specific treatment chart notes, and patient monitoring and outcomes tracking to deliver the most effective treatment.  

Most traditional EHRs don’t accommodate the documentation required for ketamine or other new interventional treatments. Because of this, clinicians often have to write out all notes and then scan those hard copy notes to each patient chart. Writing out notes is time-consuming at best, and papers can pile up quickly.

We’ve heard from Osmind practices that an average of 15 minutes can be saved, per patient visit, when using an EHR that automates workflow. The time saved over even the course of one day is significant and gives you the ability to focus on caring for patients, rather than being bogged down with administrative tasks.

An EHR that’s designed for breakthrough treatments should also have full digital patient intake tools, along with digital treatment chart notes, and patient results tracking - built by a team that has clinical experience with new treatments such as ketamine.

The notes are important and should be structured to match the way your patients receive treatment. For example, with ketamine treatment, the EHR must include everything from patient ROS/MSE evaluation to dosing and patient vitals needed to discharge after treatment. Clinical notes should also be replicated so that during each following infusion, you can begin with the data and information used from the previous ketamine treatment.

One important EHR function that is often overlooked: your EHR should work with an iPad and your laptop or desktop computer, so you or your staff can bring it with them into treatment rooms.

2) Breakthrough treatments require specific legal and liability considerations.

When offering and using new breakthrough treatments, medicolegal mitigation is essential, especially if you’re adding a treatment that’s new to your practice and clinicians.

Documentation is key here, for you and your patients. All treatment information has to be taken in and documented. As an example, the American Society of Ketamine Practitioners has a protocol that calls for the complete evaluation of each patient before treatment starts.

Then, documentation of ketamine dosing, and other medications taken during the treatment is required. Close monitoring of patients from a medical and behavioral standpoint is also essential, to respond to any adverse reactions such as an increase in suicidal thoughts, or psychotic or manic symptoms. Your EHR must be able to help you monitor and evaluate across all patient treatment points.

3) Patients being treated with breakthrough treatments have needs that a typical EHR can’t address.

Your patients are at the center of everything you do, and newer treatments require even more attention to the patient experience and outcomes. Here’s why:

Newer treatments are often meant for patients with treatment-resistant or higher acuity mental health conditions. The process of working with these patients is more detailed by nature, and doctors and clinicians have a responsibility to the patient to address these more complex conditions.

The patient’s path must be followed in detail to determine what works, and what needs to be avoided in treatment. Evidence-based practice becomes essential with this type of treatment, and clinicians have a responsibility to chart, follow, and report on outcomes for patients, with the patient, and with the wider medical community. A standard EHR typically does not allow for the detail required for evidence-based treatment.

In addition, your practice most likely relies on patient reviews and referrals to acquire new patients, and retain the patients you already work with. Patient reviews are even more important for practices that specialize in ketamine, SPRAVATO(R), psychedelic medicine, and other new treatments - because patients want to know first and foremost that the treatments are safe and effective. A specialized EHR helps ensure that your patients have a good experience, and leaves people more likely to give your practice great reviews - which can generate referrals for your practice and the treatments you provide.

Last, a typical EHR won’t help you track patients as closely as needed when using new treatments. You’ll want to be able to identify when your patients may need additional or maintenance treatments, through patient engagement and communication. An evidence-based EHR designed for breakthrough treatments like Osmind also has a patient app that can be used continually to receive patient feedback about their general health and mental outlook; more on this below.

4) Patient mood-tracking in a purpose-built mental health EHR helps facilitate evidence-based care when using breakthrough treatments like ketamine.

Measurement-based care (MBC) is an evidence-based method that requires the systematic evaluation of patient progress during treatment. This includes the systematic administration of symptom-rating scales, to aid in clinical decision-making that’s tailored to the patient.

Clinicians using ketamine treatment should also use MBC to help improve clinical outcomes, therapeutic efficiency, and patient adherence. For higher-acuity patients, this is especially important.

Taking ketamine patients as an example again, your EHR must be able to fully automate the process for measurement-based care, where treatment is followed by clinical measurement and patient-reported outcomes. The cycle of measurement and patient-reported outcomes then enhances further clinical decision-making with further patient treatments. The key is in the collection of patient-reported outcomes, outside the clinic and in everyday life.

Osmind has a frictionless EHR that automates the process of gathering clinical measurements and patient-reported outcomes. Within the EHR, clinicians can pick more than twenty-five validated mental health and pain questionnaires, and set an automatic cadence of communication to patients to measure their wellbeing. Patients can respond to the questions at their convenience, via the Osmind mobile app, no matter where they are.

After the patient receives and answers the questionnaire, your practice automatically receives the responses, which can then be used to inform clinical decisions. The Osmind EHR instantly scores and graphs the patient’s recorded outcomes and shows a comparison of patient outcomes before and after treatments.

Mood tracking from patients is important because it allows your practice to track patient treatment maintenance needs more easily over time. The Osmind EHR again automates this, which saves you time and increases the visibility of patient outcomes.

For example, you can set notifications in the Osmind EHR that will alert you if a patient crosses a specific questionnaire score threshold. This again saves time, a stark contrast compared to the time-consuming manual follow-up and data entry involved with a traditional EHR.

Overall, if your practice plans to incorporate new breakthrough mental health treatments, your EHR should save you time, allow you to spend more time with patients, help guide treatment plans, and increase positive patient outcomes.

For more information about Osmind, schedule a demo.

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