Benefits of EHR
Benefits of EHRs are numerous and include improved accuracy, better accessibility, higher efficiency, improved security and lower overhead. If you are weighing whether to integrate an EHR into your practice, consider the benefits to your practice.
Documentation benefits of EHR
Most therapists are not fans of documentation and can find it stressful. Documentation takes time away from more enjoyable tasks such as treating clients or taking a break.
The benefits of EHR when it comes to documentation is to simplify the documentation process and decrease associated stress.
EHRs typically simplify your documentation with:
- Paperless intakes
- Populating client information across forms and documents
- Dates and time stamps documentation
- Signing your credentials to documents electronically
- Increasing the likelihood of compliance with insurance-mandated and required elements
- Built-in documentation templates and allowing you to create your templates
- Integrating treatment plans into session notes, discharge summaries, etc.
- Incorporating treatment planning tools into notes, treatment plans, etc. (e.g., Wiley treatment planner)
Increasing accuracy for client data
One of the benefits of EHR when it comes to client data is that it eliminates the causes of errors regarding client data such as:
- Deciphering handwritten information
- Errors when re-writing information across forms and documents
- Incorrect dates or times
- Spelling errors
- Wrong diagnosis codes
- Reversing numbers on dates, insurance information, etc.
With an EHR, the data entry is streamlined throughout a client chart which increases the accuracy of the information in the chart. An EHR populates the client information across the chart so no one needs to write the same information multiple times. For example, once a name is entered, it populates on each document, form, or note related to the client. Insurance card information will populate across the chart and on any insurance claims submitted.
Because the EHR software creates the chart and documentation, accuracy improves. No one needs to interpret the handwriting of the information. Data entry will contain the correct date of a session or form signature, which is another one of the benefits of EHR.
Increases accessibility of client data
With paper charts, client data is only available where the chart is located. Therapists who practice at more than one location, need to ensure that the client chart is in the location of the session. If a therapist needs to work on documentation at home, then the therapist needs to transport the chart out of the office. Taking the chart out of the office presents many risks and the potential for HIPAA breaches.
Paper charts also limit access to client charts to only one person at a time. If the office assistant wants to access the chart at the same time the therapist needs the chart, someone will need to wait.
One of the many benefits of EHR is that you can assign each user a secure login which allows the user to access the client data in the chart. This access improves the efficiency of the office and reduces risks associated with transporting charts.
- Therapists can safely access the chart at more than one office location.
- Office assistants or other approved staff can access the chart to perform necessary functions while the therapist enters documentation or other information in the chart.
- Therapists can work on documentation, message clients in a portal, or perform other tasks safely from home.
Another one of the benefits of EHR is that it provides the opportunity for one software program to manage many tasks needed to effectively run your practice. Your office can run more efficiently which saves you time and money.
Most EHRs have practice management software that helps you with:
- Scheduling appointments: Scheduling programs allow you to create your schedule availability, enter client appointments, and let clients schedule their own appointments through their portal.
- Secure client portal: A secured client portal provides the ability for clients to complete and sign paperwork, upload documents and homework, enter credit card information, pay invoices, and message the office.
- Insurance claims: Many EHRs can verify insurance benefits and submit claims for sessions.
- Appointment reminders: An EHR can automatically send reminders to your clients about their appointments. This function saves the office the time it takes to call clients to remind them of appointments and increases the likelihood of clients attending their appointments.
Security benefits of EHR
Paper charts present many risks and vulnerabilities for security. Paper charts can easily be stolen, damaged, or lost.
An EHR provides a higher level of security.
- The client information remains safely and securely stored on a server.
- Users require a private user id and password to access the EHR.
- An electronic format prevents threats to damage such as spilling a drink on a chart.
- Safely encrypts client credit card information
- Secure messaging in the client portal provides a higher level of security and confidentiality than email.
- Only approved users can access client information as opposed to anyone possibly seeing client information in the paper chart sitting on a desk.
While most EHRs are not free, they do save you money and overhead expenses.
One of the major benefits of EHR is that they will decrease what you spend on:
- Printing forms (paper, ink, printer maintenance)
- Office supplies (file cabinets, file folders, etc.)
- Office space for file cabinets
- Increased accountability to track and process client payments
- Assistants to complete certain tasks that the EHR simplifies for you
- Let’s not forget the savings on time to manually complete all these tasks. When you decrease the time spent on these tasks, you can spend more time on income-earning tasks such as therapy. And, isn’t that why you went into private practice?
What are the drawbacks?
As with most anything, an EHR does present some concerns and disadvantages. When making the decision to invest your time and money into an EHR, consider what drawbacks affect you and how they might compare to the benefits.
Some drawbacks include:
- Cybersecurity breaches
- Technology failures (ex.: internet outages, computer damages, computer viruses)
- Discomfort with technology
- Time to train on the software
If you have weighed the pros and cons of an EHR and decided that you want to go forward with selecting one, many options are available to you.
TheraPlatform is an electronic health record designed for clinicians to use in private practice.
- Documentation such as therapy notes, assessments and treatment plans and add-on Wiley treatment planners
- Paperless intake and consent forms with a built-in library and form builder to build any form from scratch
- Scheduling with reminders
- Online booking widget that can be embedded on your site
- Client portal
- Billing and invoicing
- Insurance claims submission
- Telehealth with teaching aids (e.g., whiteboard, apps, etc.)
- Messenger with chat
TheraPlatform also provides:
- Worksheets to use with your clients
- Video courses to assist you with your practice management
TheraPlatform, an all-in-one EHR, practice management and teletherapy tool was built for therapists to help them save time on admin tasks. TheraPlatform provides affordable pricing packages and a free 30-day trial with no credit card required. Cancel anytime.
- EHR overview
- EHR implementation checklist
- Therapy resources and worksheets
- Therapy private practice courses
- Ultimate teletherapy ebook
- The Ultimate Insurance Billing Guide for Therapists
- The Ultimate Guide to Starting a Private Therapy Practice