Meticulous Records Improve Care

By The Fix staff 03/26/19

Paperwork is an important — but often overlooked — part of the patient experience.

Clinician sits at desk with computer, smiling while using ZenCharts medical records

Daniel Callahan has been working in the behavioral health industry for decades. During that time he’s seen many advancements, but he’s also seen how the overwhelming amount of required paperwork can detract from provider’s abilities to focus on what matters most: the well-being of the patients.

“People don’t become social workers to be a paper worker,” Callahan says. “People become social workers because they’re great at people skills. They want to help people, and sitting at a computer having to type the same thing over and over again doesn’t cut the mustard.”

To streamline the paperwork process and allow for more time to be spent with patients, Callahan founded ZenCharts. The company which provides electronic health records (EHR) and customer relationship management (CRM) software specifically designed for behavioral health providers.

“We have a process that allows the clinician to do what they do best — work with people — and not forget to do the things they need to do for compliance and patient safety,” Callahan explains.

Focused on Behavioral Health

With the move toward electronic medical records, there have been many companies trying to streamline the process of electronic records. Callahan knows, because he tried using these systems, both as a provider and as a supervisor. However, he felt that they were clunky and ineffective — more of a burden than a resource in his quest to streamline paperwork. 

In addition, the competing software was not specifically designed to serve people working in the behavioral health field. Providers working with individuals with substance use disorders, mental illnesses, eating disorders and other behavioral health problems have specific metrics and processes. They need an EHR software that can support those.

ZenCharts has tools to identify a history of suicidality or addiction, medication alerts and allergies, and outcome measurement tools to track progress and assist the clinician in deciding when it is time to pivot from failed interventions. Most importantly, it has a treatment planning tool that allows clinicians and clients to work together to craft a wholly individualized treatment plan.

“It’s a phenomenal tool,” Callahan said. “No two treatment plans are ever the same.”

ZenCharts also allows a patient’s progress to be tracked from the first moment they reach out for help, through to their long-term sobriety.

“We have a workflow process that begins with the first call from a potential client, friend or family member, and spans through the discharge and alumni follow-up,” Callahan said.

Raising the Standard of Care

Many clinicians begin working in behavioral health because they want to help people change their lives. However, ineffective records management can detract from that. Without proper paperwork it is impossible to track outcomes or easily view information about a client. At the same time, having to complete paperwork immediately following a session can take away from the time that a provider has to decompress and reset before their next session.

ZenCharts helps alleviate these problems by streamlining the paperwork process. Clinicians can make quick notes after a session and return to complete paperwork when they have adequate time. ZenCharts keeps track of everything that has to be done and sends reminders when necessary. Without having to mentally catalogue their paperwork to-do lists, clinicians are free to focus on providing the best care possible to their clients.

“Professionals are drawn to the field of human service due to their desire to help people,” Callahan said. “These professionals’ strengths usually consist of their ability to connect with other people. They are ‘people people.’ Conversely, their weakness typically lies in their documentation skills. These folks give 100 percent to their clients and at the end of their shift simply need to relax and unwind.”

Paperwork is an important and unavoidable part of modern health care. However, completing it shouldn’t detract from a clinician’s highest cause: to help clients grow and heal. ZenCharts provides a structure and software that streamlines the process of modern medical records keeping so that clients can focus on what matters most — their patients.

ZenCharts provides electronic health records (EHR) and customer relationship management (CRM) software specifically designed for behavioral health providers.

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