When you Google for addiction treatment or rehab EHR products, one useful link that comes up is the article at SoftwareAdvice.com on Substance Abuse EMRs. This list includes at the time of this writing some 130 different systems of all sizes. In the Buyer’s Guide section toward the bottom of the page, author Gaby Loria provides a good summary of what’s unique about EHRs for this space:
Unlike a generic electronic medical/health record software solution, electronic medical records (EMRs) for substance abuse treatment centers have unique features and capabilities designed specifically for those involved in addiction rehabilitation facilities. Substance abuse software offer charting templates for managing clinical records related to specific drug and alcohol abuse treatment in addition to other treatment center demands. Also, EMRs for substance abuse centers often have e-prescribing functionality to electronically generate prescriptions and a laboratory request interface to track patient lab results.
There are many additional, specific points which are worth reviewing. In the following, we recap some relevant sections from the above article and then highlight how our M2Select (EHR rehab) product addresses these unique requirements.
All addiction treatment centers are required to keep a record of all patients and their treatment notes. This increases the volume of paperwork, which makes searching for historical records a monumental task. With an EMR system in place, it becomes easy to search for any particular record.
Scheduling patient appointments is, generally, a challenge for any medical practice. Receptionists and booking staff need to be updated on the availability of their practitioners in real time to block slots for patients. Lack of this information can often lead to overbooking, which results in long waiting lines.
M2Select has a refined calendar functionality for scheduling both individual appointments as well as group sessions. Staff members can view multiple calendars on the same page in daily / weekly / monthly views, schedule recurring event series and block out time to prevent accidental over-booking. The calendar is updated in real-time and is also available on he iPad.
Patient health records allow practitioners to store patient details like name, age, gender and other demographic information, as well as progress notes, in a single place.
Patient records for substance abuse treatment clinics require special considerations. They need to be compliant with 42 CFR Part 2 standards pertaining to the confidentiality of drug and alcohol abuse treatment. EMR software helps practices meet this compliance standard by providing secure storage and access to patient information. Using a unique record for every patient, practitioners can quickly find and access previous assessment notes and test results.
M2Select stores all patient information securely in a database hosted in the cloud. Our host Armor (former Firehost) is well-known for additional security mechanisms. Armor is not the cheapest hosting provider, but when it comes to the security of our clients and patients, we strive for the best protections. Our patient databases are unique and not shared across multiple clients, which makes accidental or intentional breach of PHI even less likely.
All patient information is intuitively laid out on a single client page, with several tabs to navigate the different areas such as demographics, insurance information, medications, etc.
It is imperative for substance abuse treatment practices to maintain a record of all patient notes during patient encounter and group therapy sessions. An EMR solution simplifies this process by offering a simple interface for recording patient notes. A few solutions offer speech-to-text functionality that further eases the process by eliminating the need for typing notes. With all notes stored in the company database, practitioners can easily access patient notes from previous visits.
As with the calendar, all notes can be easily accessed from both individual appointments as well as group sessions. The entire history of encounters, from intake process throughout treatment all the way through discharge, can be reviewed in one page, with search and cross-link functionality for easy navigation.
We do offer a transcription service M2Speak which uses an iPhone app to record a physician’s notes and then turn those around to a typed and verified text. We believe that while text-to-speech has made a lot of progress in recent years and can be used for certain text input – such as the functionality built-in to the iPad keyboard – for the needs of special domains such as healthcare, a transcription based approach provides the best results.
The process of insurance claim filing requires that users manually enter data. Furthermore, users need to find accurate International Code of Diseases (ICD) and CPT codes to file insurance claims. An EMR solution helps users manage all documentation and regulatory requirements for insurance filing. Some EMR products also feature UB-04 form support, which is required in hospitals and clinics for submitting claims.
M2Select offers code search functionality for ICD and CPT codes so that users can easily find disease and treatment codes by typing in disease names in a search box.
The process of medical billing requires that users process a large volume of paperwork and documentation. In addition, practitioners billing to Medicaid and third-party insurance companies need to keep track of their claims and payment statuses. As a result, many drug and alcohol addiction treatment facilities are hesitant in accepting insurance payments, as it can lead to a loss in revenue opportunity.
M2Select can interface with any billing system through the use of standardized HL7 file formats. One example of such integration is with CollaborateMD, where M2Select shares patient demographics with the billing system to streamline claims processing and minimize errors.
With integrated billing functionality, users can generate bills and email them to patients or insurance companies. Solutions also help users track the status of their claims and insurance payments in real time. Some products on the market offer outsourced billing, which means that the entire billing process is managed by the vendor. Substance abuse treatment centers looking to directly accept insurance payments should consider this functionality.
Our billing group MedicalBillingChoices provides this outsourced billing and Revenue Cycle Management. We find an increasing number of treatment centers interested in this comprehensive offering.
e-Prescribing is one of the most popular applications in the substance abuse EMR software market. This functionality allows practitioners to send prescriptions directly from their system to the pharmacy of their patient’s choice. Patients can collect medication by showing their card at the pharmacy.
M2Select is using RCopia from our certified partner DrFirst to offer e-Prescribing. In our experience, while available in the substance abuse sector, this feature is more broadly adopted in M2Pro (EHR ambulatory).
There are many more important aspects to a fully featured Substance Abuse EHR product, such as Treatment Plans, MAR (Medication Administration Record), CIWA/COWS (Alcohol and Opioid Withdrawal Scales), to name just a few. But the above can serve as a useful checklist when comparing multiple products or evaluating a specific offering. Kudos to the authors at SoftwareAdvice.com.