The most common reason people give for being reluctant to switch to a web-based EHR is safety. When we’re charged with protecting something – in this case, our clients’ records – most of us intuitively feel safer with something we can see and touch; something physical within our own office where we can maintain control of security ourselves. However, despite this subjective sense of safety, Hurricane Katrina taught us all a valuable lesson about the danger of keeping client records on paper. Floods, tornadoes, fires and other types of disasters can destroy paper records in a heartbeat. If you do maintain paper records, at the very least, you should have backup copies of everything – and those copies should be stored at a completely different location – preferably far away from where your paper records are stored.
There are a handful of free EHRs and who doesn’t like free? However, before you jump in with both feet, you may want to know some facts. First I don’t personally know of any behavioral health EHRs for private practice that are free. So if you want to use a free EHR, you’re probably going to have to be OK with a medical product that’s been designed for agency use. The cost factor of these types of EHRs has been eliminated, but there are still some reasons you may not want to use them.