iPatientCare Blog - Improving behavioral and Mental Health using Technology

Improving behavioral and Mental Health using Technology-based Tools

There is no health without Mental Health. Yet mental health is an often-overlooked component of patient care. Mental health is essential to overall health and well-being and should be treated with the same urgency as any other health condition.

In the field of global mental health, there is an enormous gap between what we know and what we do. Healthcare professionals know that providing behavioral, mental health, and addiction treatment is quite different and challenging. Behavioral and Mental care have special requirements unlike family medicine practices and practices devoted to other specialties, such as cardiology, pediatrics, etc. Hence, Psychiatrists plays a unique role in improving access to mental health care and improving the overall health of patients.

Psychiatric disorders are highly prevalent and are frequent causes of illness representing an inflated burden to society. This rising burden inflicts substantial challenges on healthcare systems, on the individuals who rely on these systems, and on mental healthcare providers worldwide. Innovative care models that overcome the barriers to provision of mental healthcare, and potentially close the treatment gap, are essential to reduce the increasing global burden of mental illness.

There is a growing use of technology in various domains of psychiatry EHR for mental healthcare including screening, diagnosis, data collection, treatment delivery, and promoting patient adherence. For instance, telepsychiatry through the use of video conference tools has been shown to support the integration of mental health into primary care.

Essentials of Behavioral and Mental Healthcare

  1. Screening – Electronic screening tools are needed in primary care settings to initially identify a behavioral health risk or condition. The results of this screening test are used in behavioral health settings to track the patient’s progress and outcomes.
  2. Clinical Decision Support – Integration of CDS tools helps to facilitate care coordination and ‘smooth handoffs’ when referrals are needed. The clinical decision support tools help practices to collect clinical data and provide alerts and reminders, diagnostic support, clinical guidelines, and patient-focused information.
  3. Documentation – Documentation forms the backbone of behavioral and mental health diagnoses. Maintaining proper documentation is essential in any health care environment, and the same applies to behavioral healthcare. Documentation in mental health facilitates the continuity of care provided to the patient. Records provide a case history, information taken from various sources such as family members and previous records, socio-demographic profile and illness history. This is especially needful for patients with psychiatric illnesses who require long-term treatment or have complex needs.

Here’s how you can provide better Mental Healthcare

  1. Adopt Health Information Technology

    Adoption of health IT is critical to facilitate care coordination, patient engagement and access to care, and ultimately healthcare delivery. Behavioral health providers and clinicians are increasingly using behavioral EHR and other technologies to support prevention, treatment, and recovery activities. Innovations in healthcare IT and increasing EHR adoption have great potential to facilitate communication and coordination of care across provider settings.

  2. Integrated Care

    Integrated care involves the use of standard behavioral health screening and assessment tools, treatment plans, and monitoring progress across care settings. One of the best ways to foster more integrated, collaborative care is through the use of psychiatric-specific EHRs. Promoting psychiatric EHR use and behavioral health data integration could lead to truly holistic mental health care.

  3. Care Coordination

    Mental illness is often a comorbid condition with other types of chronic illnesses, particularly patients suffering from obesity, diabetes, or cardiovascular disease. Care Coordination plays a vital role in supporting recovery and self-management of mental illness. It involves bringing together various providers and information systems to coordinate health services, patient needs, and information to achieve the goals of treatment and care.

  4. Integrated Billing System

    Just as coordinating care is an important aspect of behavioral and mental health services, an EHR with practice management capabilities can eliminate some of the administrative problems practices face. Having an integrated billing system makes it easy to file insurance claims, thus allowing clinicians to accept more patients and increase their profit.

  5. Medication Management and Monitoring

    As mental illness often occurs comorbid with physical illness, behavioral and mental health practices rely on psychiatric-specific EHR features which allows them to monitor the medications patients are taking and be alerted if the risk of a harmful drug interaction is present. Other approaches that leverage technology to enhance the effectiveness of medication management include cloud-based treatment regimens. It integrates medication prescribed by different providers and allows administration by different pharmacies.

  6. Patient Engagement

    In the behavioral and mental health setting, patient engagement plays a significant role in achieving clinical goals. An EHR that allows a smooth flow of information between patient and provider communication can facilitate greater compliance with treatment, particularly with medication adherence. It plays a vital role in encouraging patients to take an active role in their care. Patient engagement features should also facilitate patient participation in appointment scheduling and offer a user-friendly messaging system.

  7. Telepsychiatry

    Telepsychiatry is an innovative application of telemedicine to the field of psychiatry, poised to have significant impact on the delivery of behavioral health services. It offers a range of services including psychiatric evaluations, therapy (individual therapy, family therapy, group therapy), medication management and patient education. It provides the ability to provide psychiatric diagnosis and treatment using telecommunications technology, usually video conferencing over the internet. Telepsychiatry enables psychiatrists to support primary care providers with mental health care consultation and expertise.

How iPatientCare can help Psychiatrists and Behavioral and Mental healthcare providers

Novel technologies can help make behavioral and mental health more efficient and expand the reach of practitioners. iPatientCare’s Psychiatry EHR is customized to facilitate providers with pre-loaded clinically defined point-and-click templates for common Psychiatry problems, a history of present illness and a review of systems. The specialty EHR also includes Psychiatry-specific ICD and CPT codes. iPatientCare’s integrated practice management system enables accurate charge capture and quickly generate electronic superbills at the point of care. Its comprehensive solutions include all other basic features of lab interface, HL7 interface, E&M coding, etc.


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