Electronic Health Record (EHR) Software Review: Qualifacts

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 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.

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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.

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