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The 2010 Behavioral Healthcare IT Vendor Survey

September 1, 2010
by the Behavioral Healthcare Editorial Staff
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Our survey explores electronic health record systems, plus the latest software and technology offerings, from 55 companies serving behavioral health customers in a dozen countries

Product functionality

Much recent attention has focused on issues of “certification,” the process by which certain key functions of an EHR system are to be tested and verified to ensure the system's capability to meet “meaningful use” criteria by a third party certifying body. This opens the gates for more successful implementations and is a prerequisite to qualify for ARRA-HITECH incentive funds.

We hoped to capitalize on that attention by identifying those vendors whose EHRs were to be certified by CCHIT. At the time we started the survey, it was the only clear certification option available. However, during the course of the survey, some things changed. To the relief of all, the Stage 1 meaningful use criteria were simplified. At the same time, it became clear that there would be multiple organizations providing EHR certifications.

Most of the EHRs listed in the survey are likely to become certified, but some may not. For those involved in selecting EHRs or considering meaningful use upgrades, caveat emptor, let the buyer beware-at least until the certification process picks up steam. Ultimately, every vendor's claim of certification will be able to be validated on the Web sites of the certification organizations.

One might wonder, “Why not certify?” For large vendors, it's not a question but a cost of doing business. But numerous small and mid-sized companies are weighing the costs of developing (and certifying) key product features against customer preferences and certification costs. And, although the final Stage 1 meaningful use incentive criteria will make success easier to achieve for many providers, they remain an all-or-nothing investment for the vendors, who must commit to supporting all of them regardless of the subset chosen by each customer. So again, caveat emptor, at least for now.

Finally, our survey has sharpened its focus on product functionality in two broad categories: case management/clinical functions and administrative/financial functions. This year, we carefully asked about the “functions performed” by various products, hoping to help you highlight products that, for example, provide dedicated patient screening tools versus a storage location for in-house forms; perform document imaging versus manipulation of existing image files; or keep lists of patients, staff, or assets versus utilize real-time locating system (RTLS) technology that pinpoints exactly where they are.

As before, we asked vendors to tell us exactly how the functionality was provided: included/built into their main product (solid box); offered in another of their products (solid color box with white “O”); or available through a partnership with a third party (white box with color “3P”).

All functions surveyed are listed in approximate order of their availability in the chart. Case management and clinical functions surveyed include:

  • Case management

  • Treatment plans

  • EMR/EHR

  • Patient scheduling

  • E-prescription

  • Disease management

  • Patient assessment

  • Patient/staff/asset tracking (RFI/RTLS)

  • Personal health record

  • Telehealth

Administrative and financial functions surveyed include:

  • Generate reports and documents

  • Document imaging and management

  • Dashboards

  • Billing service/clearinghouse

  • Workforce management

  • Revenue cycle management

  • Accounts payable/general ledger

  • Managed care/payer software

  • E-learning

  • Enterprise resource planning

To accommodate your questions, as well as additional comments or clarifications from the vendors surveyed, Behavioral Healthcare will make the latest copy of the survey available online at www.behavioral.net/2010ITSurvey.

Have questions or comments? Read the latest from the Behavioral Healthcare editors and contributors online at www.behavioral.net or join our fast-growing discussion group, Behavioral Healthcare magazine, at www.linkedin.com. Talk to you there!

Behavioral Healthcare 2010 September;30(8):14-17

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