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Amazing Charts

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

I had to chuckle when I read “user-friendly” in a recent list of demands from software.

We’ve been trying to capture that goal for the Electronic Health Record (EHR) on the personal computer since the pioneering days of the 1980s, and we keep working. The result has been software that’s pretty user friendly these days, and that’s part of the message Amazing Charts is trying to get across about its EHR.

I like the part on the web site that says Amazing Charts is low-cost, and so do professionals in this business. Now, “low-cost” is a relative term, and before I spill the beans on the dollars, it’s important to know what the heck is available in this package.

User Friendly

When using an EHR It seems it can take “dozens of clicks” to get things done in many aging software packages, and although a general exaggeration, more than three clicks to get to a progress note is too many, neighbor …professionals find software navigation is often tedious and wish for a simple approach, which is what Amazing Charts claims in describing their process flow. To this end, the Amazing Charts website indicates the system is sensitive to your workflow. This is a big deal to me and if you’re looking for software the secret to this sort of success is to make sure it’s configurable to your needs with design tools to make the treatment notes, assessments, reports and treatment plans your own. Working with a software company’s rigid idea of a document can be a pain. Many software vendors need to pay one of their programmers to do work like this, and pass the charge along to the customer; it’s another thing to inquire about. If the tools are available, make sure you have somebody with time and the aptitude to use them and make the software work for you.

Meaningful Use

This is a good one. The Office of the National Coordinator requires certification in order to collect the incentives of over $60,000 for every prescribing professional using the software. I’ve written many posts tracking this, and am a proponent of taking advantage of these incentives; they can more than pay for the system. Amazing Charts has a testimonial from a customer that’s received a check from Medicare. Medicaid is part of the program in most states.

Hardware

Unless I missed something, this may be a drawback to some folks. Amazing Charts appears to be deployed on a local server (which the professional treatment organization must buy and support, which carries an annual cost), and is not delivered via the web. Many professionals want the server hosted by a technical organization and deployed via the web, others don’t; there are pros and cons both ways, so consult with somebody like yours truly before you buy.

Interfaces

One of the major concerns in purchasing an EHR is interfaces to other software either on a Behavioral Health organization’s practice management software or sources of data that can be securely accessed over the web like laboratory and pharmacy programs. It’s much better to receive outside data on a patient electronically for two reasons: you don’t have to pay somebody to enter the results into the computer and because humans aren’t involved, the data that does go into the system tends to be more accurate. At first blush, Amazing Charts gets an “A+” in this area.

Other Stuff

Amazing charts includes a scheduling module, electronic prescribing that’s Sure-Scripts certified and an internal messaging system for multiple provider organizations. Nice. A superbill can be generated, and insurance billing appears to be via a billing service, which can be worth the price if a professional is busy enough to need help with this. You can even review a chart on your smart phone for an after-hours call with the app. This is another “A+”

Price

$1,995 per user is a reasonable price. A three month trial period is a good idea for any software company simply because after the ordeal of implementing software and getting used to having it around, a professional isn’t likely to dump it. Ongoing software support is $995, which seems a bit steep until I look at it as less than $83 a month…look at software support as insurance; it’s just something you gotta have. They’re maintaining a healthy GPA regarding price.

If I were buying, I’d want to know more about Amazing Charts specific Behavioral Health penetration. I am old-school in serving mental health and addictions and it remains clear to me that these disciplines of treatment are special. There’s a lot of talk about physicians on their website, and this is fine if you’re a mental health professional working a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) or are partnered with an MD. With the integration of care and the relationships that seem to be building among professionals providing treatment for ills of the body, mind and spirit in the same facility, there’s value to the ability to track all this.

After all is said and done a behavioral health professional considering Amazing Charts should talk to a few people in a 200 mile radius that are using the software, and if it still seems like a good idea, make sure it meets your professional needs and workflow processes.

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