It’s more than “Just the facts, Ma’am” .
Qualifacts Electronic Health Record (EHR) slices, dices, and combines consumer health information in an impressive manner. This EHR is geared toward mental health clinics, and is another product that appears to have all the pieces. I was privy to a recent presentation of the software, and for the professional using assessments and other professional instruments to measure how a consumer is doing with ongoing treatment, the tools in the EHR look pretty good. The ability to include a few questions in a progress note with answers that can be plotted on a graph can help the professional and consumer zero in on what’s working in treatment; and that seems like signposts on the path to recovery.
Another tool that helps save some time for professionals is the ability to push data gathered in assessments directly to the treatment plan. If you’ve read my other reviews, you know this is nothing original, and that I feel it’s functionality necessary for success in today’s software world.
Billing seems to have all the pieces, and should a mental health or addictions treatment company move forward in the process, the billing functionality should be thoroughly researched. Due to the time allotted the presentation, I was unable to review this, and like any professionals, I’d want to be very careful with billing, since it holds the key to success with an enterprise-wide EHR.
In this age of data leaks, losses and thefts, a software company needs to do what they can to plug up the possibilities of data escaping. One of the things suggested by HIPAA is data encryption, and Qualifacts is in a minority of companies readily identifying their product and delivered environment as encrypted.
The report writer is an interesting approach. On the surface, it looks quite good, however it’s an integrated third party report writer, Panteho. Unlike Crystal Reports, which requires reports be written independent of some EHRs, this report writer is embedded into the program. The functionality seems fine, and the data dictionary looks superb at first glance. On the other hand, if I were checking out Qualifacts, I’d talk with Panteho, too. The idea is to feel good about Qualifacts receiving the maintenance and product improvements that are needed to keep up with technology as we move forward through the years. It’s likely not an issue, but it never hurts to ask questions like this.
The user interface (UI) could take some getting used to. I saw traditional design elements of systems like a persistent modular approach and needing to use several clicks to access a document from the user’s home page. From the home page, I really want one click access to tasks that need to be performed regularly like treatment plan updates and progress notes needing completion. In all fairness, I just because I didn’t see this as a consistent design element in Qualifacts doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Any system needs to be configured to meet workflow expectations of specific locations; it seemed like some items could be easily accessed, however, when a new item needed to be added, like an assessment, you had to go hunting through a lot of menus for it. This UI re-defines how a browser is used. The common look and feel of the menu bar that runs across the top is different than what internet-surfers are used to, even though it looks like the product is launched in the MS Internet Explorer. This is a pretty minor criticism considering every system takes some training and getting used to.
The look of the home page presents lists of tasks, scheduled appointments, documentation, and such. It makes it simple to pull up a consumer’s treatment documentation, and when documentation is easy to access, it’s more likely to actually be read.
Another design difference from some of the other EHRs lies in the way assessments are built. The facility builds assessments by selecting from components. Look at it like a suicide assessment is one component, and a mental status exam could be another component, and other sections are components of a bio-psych-social assessment that’s normally given at intake. They all add up to a lot of questions for the consumer, and that’s what an intake is like. Qualifacts uses the components to build the assessment, and then enables editing from there. The idea appears to be an attempt to cut down on the amount of work it takes to configure a system, and hopefully decrease the amount of time it takes to implement the software.
The treatment plan is a standard Wiley documentation approach. Problems-goals-objectives-interventions. As you proceed through each of these, context sensitive choices are presented. For example, a problem’s objectives list will present suggestions related to the selected problem. One thing to bear in mind is that the Wiley Libraries are available at a cost, and many mental health facilities forego the recurring fee and develop their own drop-down dictionaries, which can be a considerable task.
All-in-all, Qualifacts seems chock full of all the right stuff, and if you’re a professional whose employer is considering implementing an EHR, the software is worth a look, and if you like the User Interface and can get a half dozen or so positive references from appropriate customers, it’s worth more than a look.Read more →
To some professionals, that prestigious institution means a lot to the mental health field, simply because they have a program for professionals to earn a degree that’s stamped “Duke”“. That, in itself can mean a lot when the professional seeks a job, and to the consumer who really wants to find a well-educated professional to help manage and resolve difficult mental health problems. To me, “Duke’ means “MindLinc” an Electronic Medical Record (EMR). Note the difference from my usual software designation of Electronic Health Record (EHR). MindLinc is a quite complete EMR, however I see no billing component. That may be a drawback or not, depending on an organization’s needs or not. If a mental health or addictions treatment facility has a billing system they absolutely love (strange thing to love, that), or wants to use AccuMedic’s billing software (see my previous post), MindLinc is an expert in interfacing. Interfacing is the skill, talent and result of a lot of hard work that makes two different software products talk to one another, and from what I saw, MindLinc’s folks have mastered that.
Although not all companies can boast such expertise, that’s not the impressive thing discovered during the initial overview I received recently. MindLinc customers have universally opted into a de-identified sharing of data from the MindLinc data warehouse. The value is evidenced in thousands of cases treating mental illness diagnoses’ common to mental health clinics and hospitals across the nation, and the results that have been entered into that database. This tool offers tremendous treatment guidance based on real treatment results. The implications of this to consumers is obvious…if the professional a consumer is seeing is using MindLinc, they both benefit from a tremendous number success stories; if that data is being leveraged in daily treatment, people might have an improved chance to feel better.
Families frequently participate in their loved ones’ treatment. In fact, family can deliver the greatest support because they are in closest contact with the consumer. A number of software programs have been challenged by connecting family records to a consumer’s records, however MindLinc appears to have an effective method of including those records as a vital, easily accessible aspect of treatment documentation.
From what I saw, MindLinc uses measurement scales in every form to measure progress and outcomes. The idea is to monitor treatment and how the consumer is doing, and if this monitoring shows a statistical trend of a declining payoff in successful treatment, the measurements may guide the professional to a more successful path. The scales tend to be a few simple questions asked that can be quite revealing and are asked regularly. The answers can be graphed to show increasing or declining results of treatment.
The User Interface is what I would call “old school”, and any facility looking for an EMR should take a close look at MindLinc to assure the fit will be easily grasped by the professionals who will be using the software…If users find software easy to use, they are more likely to add it into their daily routine as opposed to becoming reluctant users.
MindLinc has a singular approach to some documentation, like the treatment plan. “Problems”, which are a key part of treatment that needs to be focused on in most sessions, are stored in a different place than the treatment plan. Some professionals will love this, some will want to gravitate toward the traditional “tree” approach to documentation. It’s a matter of choice, so be sure to have both schools weigh in if your organization is looking for an EMR.
The software includes 350 forms and reports, so you theoretically don’t spend all your time developing forms. This is a plus on one hand, and says a little about the software company. Since they are part of Duke University, I’m certain a lot of thought has gone into the approach of the software and the forms that are included.
MindLinc has a different approach to the EMR than some of the other vendors out there. Especially if you’re not seeing what you like for your professionals, check them out.Read more →
It just might be the ticket to success.
I would assume professionals seeking a solo practice system probably wouldn’t want to pay the price for Anasazi Software or put in the work to implement it, however for mental health and addictions treatment organizations this Electronic Health Record (EHR) might be just the ticket.
On the surface, Anasazi software looks a little more complicated to run than a number of EHRs being offered to Mental Health organizations today, and that’s a function of more robust functionality being available. It has to be robust to serve hundreds of professionals and securely manage thousands of consumer records. The software becomes less complicated as professionals’ home pages and other functionality is configured to meet the specific professional’s needs. Configuration is substantial for billing, but in the end technical professionals find it works like they’d expect, quite standard and direct, which is largely considered doing it the right way from the technical point of view. Billing and Clinical functionalities are integrated well with two different worlds of responsibility that are transparent to one another.
There was a time, I didn’t want to talk about the prescribing functionality in this software, and today medication orders are much smoother, streamlined and quicker for the prescriber to use than when I first reviewed the module a couple years ago.
In case you don’t know, state governments can be particular about reporting data about consumers. First and foremost, reporting needs to be secure, so consumer information doesn’t leak out and violate HIPAA requirements for consumer confidentiality. Next, they need everybody who’s reporting to them to be reporting the same data, and when it’s electronically reported, it needs to be in a common format. For example, in New York, the NYSCRI forms are purported to be the wave of the future and EHR manufacturers like Anasazi need to offer the forms as part of their product. Currently Anasazi offers 22 of the NYSCRI forms and as requirements and desire to use the remaining forms arise, the sales person I talked to promised they will be included into the system. This seems a sensible approach to these sometimes daunting forms. By the way, I’ve known the sales person a long time and believe what he says.
Meaningful Use incentives enable mental health and addictions facilities to recoup some (if not all) the cost of implementing the EHR. Anasazi’s approach to Meaningful Use is commendable. They began training in securing MU incentives at the last user group meeting, and they use a “launch pad” with built in reports to assure the requirements are being met to earn the incentives. The setup is where the work comes in, and after this feature is set up, the monitoring is simple enough with the reports.
When I first saw Anasazi’s WYSYWIG design tools a couple years ago, I was not impressed. The tool has matured, and has enabled a solid level of customer development of forms, drag-and-drop indexing and other features…design tools are a must for organizations who don’t want to pay for expensive programming unless absolutely necessary.
OK, you may ask, with all this praise, are there any drawbacks? Sure, nothing in this world is flawless, and it’s usually a matter of opinion. If I were seeking an EHR, I’d have my Information Technology expert ask about the “back end” architecture and the tools like middleware that come into play during the development process. This is not to say there’s anything necessarily wrong with the foundation of Anasazi, just that it’s good to be aware of what goes into building the software you’re purchasing.
There are other companies serving the sector who have more experience in Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), and since consumers receive care from multiple professionals, and since the federal government has included EDI as a requirement in proving an EHR is used meaningfully, Anasazi has focused more on this lately. I’d want to know more about their successes.
The company behind the software is of primary importance. Recently, Anasazi has bolstered its’ technical staff and has completed a number of enhancements to the software that were requested by the national user group. It sounds like Anasazi is poised to expand its share of the software market.Read more →