Mental health and addictions professionals require tools. For a couple decades, Terry McLeod has been a trailblazer providing those tools in the form of Electronic ...Read More

It’s new! Relatively speaking.

Within the past few years, AccuMedic’s AccuMed software has been appearing in mental health clinics as their Electronic Health Record (EHR). AccuMed has a long history as a billing software manufacturer, and now the clinical documentation is becoming more commonly seen, especially in New York, where AccuMedic has two EMR customers in NYC and two more on Long Island. There are more around the country.

AccuMed appears to have all the commonly needed pieces in place for clinical documentation. On top of that I hear the billing system is dandy. That makes it an enterprise EHR.

As a software implementer, I appreciate the all-in-one approach. Modules are fine, however, an EHR works better if clinical documents are related to one another, like the assessment feeding information to the treatment plan, the progress notes being able to grab data from that treatment plan AND have all that related to a charge and a bill for easy access to documents important to insurance billing…all this information is usually available in a list on the screen or a quick report in a good EHR.

This approach to clinical forms and flexibility are becoming “industry standard” and is used by many software vendors.

This EHR’s functionality includes a flexible approach to some nifty state-recommended forms, enabling the customer to use them or not, and the built in design tools enable modification of forms to arrive at documentation that meets the needs of a particular facility, usually without involving expensive programming time. A third party report writer is purported to be easier to use than Crystal Reports (the industry standard report writer), yet just as robust. Now, a run of the mill one-to-three professional office that serves 90 consumers may be hesitant to pay the price tag for AccuMed, but the up side to small and medium sized behavioral health clinics is solid…from what I saw, it’s worth the money if a clinic has 50 users or more.

The “homepage” approach that is becoming the standard for user interfaces consumers and professionals see on the internet these days is in place, and while the look of the sub-windows for services, tasks, notes, etc. is a bit boxy and looks like a series of lists, the page does enable “one-click” access to about any consumer document you’d like, whether writing a new one or reviewing treatment history. This benefits the consumer, simply because a professional is more likely to look at a document if he doesn’t have to search for it, and that could be critical in a therapy or group counseling session.

Drag-and-drop functionality to re-index these sub-windows aids navigation and records searches and seems to work fine. It’s also worth noting that users can add data columns to these lists “on the fly”.

I talked to one of the sales guys for AccuMedic, and he says the billing module is effective in deducting services from authorizations as they are performed, which is a response to an early complaint. This lets us know the company responds to requests to enhance functionality where it makes sense.

The appointment screen looks a bit busy, however, at the same time it looks functional. Some fields may not be needed, and if your organization is interested in purchasing an EHR it might be good to address hiding unneeded data elements that are not necessary to your organization’s scheduling process.

I walked away with some questions about the treatment plan’s handling of drop down selections in recording the consumer’s problem/goal/objectives, and how related they are to one another…in other words do different suggestions for goals show up when I select different problems?

I also wonder how the system is rolled out. There’s a difference in an EHR project and an EHR product. Before I bought AccuMed, I’d want to know details about how software upgrades are handled…if a programmer is required, that means the installation is an EHR project, which is a labor intensive way to do business. Now, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it just takes more of work on the part of the vendor.

No software receives 100% approval from a prospective customer. AccuMed receives a high enough score that I’d certainly like to see more information about AccuMed, as well as an on-site presentation. My hunch is that it’s a fine product and a good group of folks to work with.

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