Practice Management System and Portal for Mental Health Professionals and their Clients

susanlitton

/Susan Litton

About Susan Litton

Susan C. Litton, Ph.D. holds degrees in both psychology and IT. In addition to being the developer of the PSYBooks EHR & Portal, she's been a practicing clinical psychologist in Decatur, GA, since 1985.

Am I Required to Comply with HIPAA? ALL of It???

Not too long ago, I conducted a workshop on telehealth. During the Q & A period at the end, a woman said that she had been told she was exempt from HIPAA and wanted to check with me to see if that was true. I was caught off guard. I used to get that question a lot, but I hadn’t heard it for a while, so it took me a moment to gather my wits. Finally I said, “Do you only use landlines when talking with your patients?” She replied that she did. I continued, “And are they always only on landlines as well?” She assured me that they were. “And you’re not doing any video sessions, only in person?” That was true, too. My last question was, “And I assume you don’t take insurance at all, that you’re only private pay?” She was. I replied, “Ok, then yes, I guess you’re fine. No need to worry about HIPAA.”

She left relieved. I left unsure of my answer.

By |2021-07-18T10:01:39-04:00July 18th, 2021|Current, HIPAA/HITECH|Comments Off on Am I Required to Comply with HIPAA? ALL of It???

Integrated Products for Mental Health: Save Time, Money, Errors

Mental health therapists are beginning to talk about wanting “integrated products” to help manage their practice tasks. But what do they mean by “integrated product?” More importantly, if you wanted to look at some, how would you go about finding them? Googling “integrated product” isn’t likely to produce the results you want.

One of the problems is that these types of products go by more than one name, which may be why people have begun referring to them as “integrated products.” Common names are Electronic Health Record (EHR), Electronic Medical Record (EMR) or Practice Management System. To complicate matters, just being called one of those titles doesn’t automatically mean the product is well-integrated.

By |2021-07-17T17:12:14-04:00June 3rd, 2021|Current, How To Choose an EHR|Comments Off on Integrated Products for Mental Health: Save Time, Money, Errors

All Patient Notes in ONE Place – You Don’t Have to Go Looking

Recently, a top journal in the field of Electronic Health Record (EHR) development posted this quote from an anonymous doctor who was dissatisfied with his EHR:

“I firmly believe this EHR makes important information difficult to find and interpret, and it is very inefficient.” He went on to say, “It creates superfluous and difficult-to-navigate notes and information that are not centralized. That makes it easy for care providers to disregard notes, and they often do. That affects patient safety. . . . It is difficult and arduous to document in the EHR, and providers’ efforts to do so still yield subpar results with erroneous, irrelevant information.”

This doctor is pointing out a very real problem inherent in some EHRs. However, he was referring to one of the "ONC Certified" EHRs which we've discussed previously. Those types of EHRS are inherently much more difficult to use than most EHRs that have been specifically created for the mental health professions, such as PSYBooks.

By |2021-04-29T21:56:01-04:00April 29th, 2021|Current, How To Choose an EHR, Notes in PSYBooks|Comments Off on All Patient Notes in ONE Place – You Don’t Have to Go Looking

Does the Open Notes Rule Apply to Me?

The term "Open Notes Rule" is a popular term coined to depict the legislation enacted by the 21st Century Cures Act that is more accurately referred to as the ONC's final program rule on Interoperability, Information Blocking, and ONC Health IT Certification (OpenNotes, 2020). It is a continuation of the legislation originally enacted as part of the HITECH act of 2009 to promote EHR interoperability (with the ultimate goal being a national database for healthcare information on all U.S. Citizens) and open access to records. The Open Notes Rule does NOT apply to PSYBooks users but there are some important things to understand about the current iteration of this legislation, partly in an attempt to help prepare us for what might be coming in the future.

By |2021-02-23T01:17:23-04:00February 18th, 2021|Current, Notes in PSYBooks|0 Comments

Why Do People Hate Electronic Health Records (EHRs)?

Actually, most patients don't. A recent study conducted by Catalyst Healthcare Research found that 93% of adults would prefer to go to a doctor that offers email communication, even if there was a $25 fee (Pai, 2014). Encrypted email is incorporated into most, if not all present-day EHRs that also have patient portals. By being integrated with the entire medical record, it's relatively easy for doctors to correspond with patients right from their electronic chart. Leaders in prominent health care groups in Houston, encouraged patient enrollment in their EHR system and have found similar results. Dr. Robert Dickinson, Kelsey-Seybold's medical director for executive health and wellness says, "They think it's the coolest thing they've ever seen. It's like online banking. People love this kind of access. Before, it was kind of mysterious" (Hines, 2014).

However, when you ask doctors if they like EHRs, you often get an entirely different story. You mostly hear dislike, frustration and irritability. There are actually excellent reasons for this.

By |2021-02-28T03:04:10-04:00February 17th, 2021|Current, Efile, ERAs and EFTs, How To Choose an EHR|0 Comments

More Than a Three-Room House

Imagine a two-room house whose occupants have outgrown it. They decide to solve the dilemma by tacking another room on the back. Great! The siding doesn't quite match - nor does the roof. Some of the existing old-growth trees had to be felled to make the new room fit, and when you're inside, you have to remember to step down and duck a bit as you enter the new room. But hey! The owners still have that extra room! If they decide to put their home on the market, they can advertise it as having three rooms.

Unfortunately, some EHRs are built like this.

By |2021-06-02T14:55:21-04:00April 9th, 2020|Current, Telehealth|Comments Off on More Than a Three-Room House

Why Get an Integrated Product?

As a therapist, you can amass your digital tools one at a time or you can invest in a well-integrated bundled product. For example, let's say right now you're mostly looking for a video platform so you can do telehealth. There are companies that ONLY offer subscriptions to video platforms. But is that the best choice?

Depends.

For example, what happens if, after you sign up for your standalone video product, you realize that you also need a way to collect your fees from your telehealth clients. And maybe you need encrypted email so you can contact people in a way that's secure. Or maybe now you need HIPAA-compliant file storage, as your clients begin to send you documents via their new encrypted email. Or perhaps a way to schedule clients online. Or maybe a way to efile and also to send statements and receipts digitally. That's a LOT of tools and we're just getting started!

By |2021-02-19T02:08:17-04:00March 22nd, 2020|Current, Features, Telehealth|Comments Off on Why Get an Integrated Product?

Do I Have to use HIPAA-Compliant Video? 

Right now is a stressful time as COVID-19, more commonly known as coronavirus, continues to spread. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have both emphasized how now it’s more important than ever for us to maintain “social distancing.” How do we do that and maintain our ethical and legal obligations to our clients – not to mention keeping our income relatively intact?

By |2021-02-19T02:09:28-04:00March 15th, 2020|Current|Comments Off on Do I Have to use HIPAA-Compliant Video? 

Doing Telehealth? You Need a Portal.

Think you're not doing telehealth? Think again. Although there's no one-size-fits-all definition that cuts across state and/or discipline lines, most agree that telehealth basically involves any electronic method you use to communicate with or about your clients. This can include common things like phones, email and electronic file storage, in addition to video sessions, which is what we typically think of with the term telehealth.

By |2021-02-19T12:42:23-04:00July 27th, 2017|Client Portal, HIPAA/HITECH, How To Choose an EHR, Telehealth, What to Look for in a Telehealth Portal, Why Use an EHR?|Comments Off on Doing Telehealth? You Need a Portal.

Business Associate Agreements:
Do We Really Need Them?

I sometimes hear therapists mention specific software programs they’re using in their practices for tasks like notes, calendar/schedulers, online file storage, billing, video sessions or email and then add something like, “They’re HIPAA compliant. They just don’t – you know – have Business Associate Agreements.”

By |2019-04-10T12:03:25-04:00July 24th, 2017|HIPAA/HITECH, How To Choose an EHR, Why Use an EHR?|Comments Off on Business Associate Agreements:
Do We Really Need Them?