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3 Tips For Transitioning To A New Behavioral Health EHR

Switching from paper based records to an electronic healthcare records system designed for a behavioral health clinic like yours can save you time by streamlining your billing and record-keeping. That allows you and your staff to spend less time dealing with papers and files, and more time treating and helping your patients. However, during the time that you spend transitioning to the new system, things can become a little hectic.

Here are a few tips that can make that transition period smoother for all of you:

Evaluate Your Staff's Computer Skills

If your office is mostly paper based, you may not have a good idea of who has good computer skills already, and who does not. If you have staff members that lack basic computer skills, you'll need to get them up to speed.

There are several free testing tools online that will allow you to gauge the computer skills of your staff members. If some are in need of additional instruction, you'll need to devise a plan to bring them up to speed. This can include classes at the local community college or library, or an onsite tutor.

Identifying staff computer skills also lets you know who already excels in this area. If you have one or two staff members who are very tech-savvy already, you can designate them to be your behavioral health EHR gurus. Give them the highest level, most intensive training on the new system, and they can guide other employees when they have problems or in-depth questions.

Give Specialized Training

With the exception of your EHR gurus, most employees should be trained only in the areas of the system that they're primarily going to use. Train employees who work in billing only on the billing issues, like filing insurance claims and entering billing codes, and employees who work in patient records only on things like reading test results and entering diagnoses.

The purpose of specialized training is to cut down on confusion and make the training go more quickly. The faster everyone knows their specialty, the sooner your office is operating at normal speed again. You can always cross-train later, if you choose.

Solicit Detailed Feedback

Electronic healthcare records systems often have to be adapted to the individual office. You're going to hit snags along the way. It's important to deal with them as they come up so that your office continues to run smoothly after your new system is implemented. Feedback from the people using the system the most is the most valuable way to learn what needs to be changed and tweaked.

Schedule weekly meetings for a month or two after implementation, and monthly or bimonthly meetings after that. Use this time to talk about changes that need to be made to the EHR system. You should be actively soliciting feedback and prioritizing the changes that will make the system better suited for your specific behavioral health clinic.

Don't forget to take advantage of any resources offered by your EHR provider, including training and ongoing support. The more help you have in changing your system over, the better.