Substance Abuse EMR Software

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Buyers Guide

Last updated: June 01, 2023

Unlike general EHR software, substance abuse EHR software has unique built-in features that help patients in drug/addiction rehabilitation. This guide is aimed at helping you understand the unique features of substance abuse EHR software. Here’s what we’ll be discussing in this buyer’s guide:

What is a Substance Abuse EHR Software?
Substance Abuse EHR Software Features
Choosing a Substance Abuse EHR Vendor
Substance Abuse EHR Software Benefits

What is a Substance Abuse EHR Software?

A substance abuse Electronic Health Records (EHR) software is designed to cater to the unique needs of addiction rehabilitation and substance abuse facilities. Primarily these features are divided into two groups; functional and operational. Functional features deal with routine administrative tasks like patient scheduling, appointment scheduling, and medical billing. On the other hand, operational features e-prescription, charting, and radiology information systems (RIS).

One of the core requirements of choosing a substance abuse EHR software is assessing your practice’s needs. If your practice offers group counseling as a rehabilitation service, then you’d need EHR software capable of managing multiple patient appointment schedules at once. Similarly, the needs of an inpatient practice would differ from the needs of the outpatient practice.

When dealing with patients in a substance abuse practice, you have to provide a safe space and a comfortable environment. This helps your patients with rehabilitation and improves patient care. You might also need to share data with other practices when dealing with complex patients. In all of this, your EHR software needs to be robust and effective enough to sustain your needs.

The core concept of substance abuse EHR software is to improve patient care, facilitate rehabilitation processes, and simplify administrative tasks.

Here’s all you need to know to make the most of your substance abuse EHR software.

Substance Abuse EHR Software Features

Here are some features of substance abuse software that help improve patient care, streamline your clinical workflows, and simplify administrative tasks.

Notes Management – While some practices include one-on-one treatment plans with patients, most substance abuse practices use a blend of group and one-on-one treatment plans. As a physician, you should have quick access to your notes for individual patients as well as group settings.

Substance Abuse-Specific Templates - As a physician, manually dealing with evaluations can become lengthy. That’s why your EHR software should include pre-built substance abuse/rehabilitation-specific templates such as:

  • Narcotics
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Prescriptions Painkillers
  • Alcoholism

Substance Abuse Workflow Management - An effective substance abuse EHR software should be able to manage your clinical workflows and streamline your operations. The usual workflow of a substance abuse rehabilitation center include:

  • First inquiry of patient
  • Admission of patient
  • Treatment(s) and therapies required
  • Medication (if needed)
  • Patient discharge
  • Follow-ups

HIPAA Compliance - A substance abuse EHR software also needs to ensure patient information confidentiality and privacy through compliance with HIPAA guidelines.

Choosing a Substance Abuse EHR Vendor

So far we’ve talked about all the features that a substance abuse EHR software must-have. Now let’s discuss what makes an EHR software a good fit for your practice and just as importantly, what doesn’t.

Design – The design of EHR’s infrastructure depends on your choice. Whether you would prefer a cloud-based, web-based, or even standalone EHR.

Web-based EHR: These companies focus on a web-based approach and practitioners can access their patient information through their web browser.

Stand-alone EHR: Although not quite popular as the others, this EHR is an on-premise EMR that can be accessed remotely through smartphones, iPads, etc. as long as you’re connected to your practice’s network.

Cloud-based EHR: Companies that provide native cloud EHR offer you access to patient information through a cloud-storage.

Vendor Size – What type of practices does your EHR vendor typically cater to? Some EHR vendors only provide services to small-scale practices, while others cater to large-scale practices. Therefore, if you have a small practice, paying for services that help large practices, won’t do much good. Similarly, large practices won’t be able to function with services designed for small practices.

Certification – Vendor certification ensures patient information confidentiality and security and is perhaps one of the most important things to look for in a substance abuse EHR vendor. So make sure your vendor has ONC-authorized testing and certification body (ONC-ATCB) certification.

Needless to say, cloud-based EHR software offers more benefits at less cost.

Substance Abuse EHR Software Benefits

After you’ve decided on the needs of your services and set your eyes on an EHR vendor, you might be wondering about its benefits. With an effective substance abuse EHR software, you can:

  • Seamless insurance claims management and denied claims.
  • Ensure accurately and simplified note-taking process.
  • Improve clinical workflow efficiency.
  • Ensure compliance with healthcare regulations.