Many people consider physical and mental health problems completely separate from one another. However, medical and behavioral health professionals understand that the two affect each other. Addiction to opioids and chronic pain have physical and emotional symptoms that we shouldn’t ignore. By addressing both problems from all angles, we can curb the opioid crisis impacting the United States.
About The Opioid Epidemic
According to NIDA, about 2.1 million Americans had a prescription opioid-related substance use disorder in 2016. That same year, 626,000 had a heroin use disorder, and 15,000 died from heroin overdose. Overall, an average of 115 people die from opioid overdose every day. These statistics show only a small part of the impact that opioid abuse has on public health. It causes an immeasurable amount of physical and emotional harm to patients and their loved ones.
New Opioid Regulations and Their Effect on Chronic Pain Patients
As a result of the increasing opioid problem in the United States, the CDC issued new opioid prescribing guidelines in 2016. They suggested a lower reliance on opioids as the first line of care for pain. Many patients undergoing opioid treatment feel dismayed by these changes. The updates make it seem like the healthcare system treats them as part of the problem.
We believe that the CDC has good reason to change how we prescribe opioids. However, these patients have understandable concerns about an increase in the burden of chronic pain.
How You Can Help Patients Taking Opioids for Chronic Pain
Behavioral health professionals from all disciplines can help pain patients manage their symptoms. Healthcare frequently leaves pain treatment up to specialists and general providers, but you also have a part to play. Pain causes a wide range of psychological symptoms often left unaddressed. When we don’t target the emotional aspects of pain, substance abuse becomes more likely due to mental illness’ role as a risk factor. The patient also has a difficult time trying alternative and supplemental therapies because of mental health symptoms like fatigue and lack of motivation.
Additionally, tackling the emotional symptoms of pain could reduce a patient’s need to rely on opioids. That’s not to say that pain patients can “get over” their conditions. However, the APA states that research indicates that some forms of psychotherapy could work as well as surgery to relieve pain.
If you don’t already address chronic pain symptoms, consider what you can do for your chronic pain patients. Even starting a simple conversation could make a big difference.
About AccuCare and the Opioid Risk Tool
AccuCare and its new Opioid Risk Tool (ORT) feature make it easier than ever to monitor addiction risks in your patients. The ORT uses a research-supported questionnaire to calculate a patient’s potential for abuse. Answer a few simple yes or no questions, and the ORT automatically calculates a score that helps you understand your patient’s risk. That way, you can monitor patients with high scores and stop addiction before it happens.
Contact us to learn more about AccuCare features, or request a demo today to see them for yourself.
Fentanyl and other synthetic opioids lie at the forefront of today’s crisis. Their potency and high price on the streets make them a lethal danger in the opioid epidemic. Behavioral health professionals must understand the harm caused by fentanyl and other opioids to fight back against abuse and addiction.
What Is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid with a potency 100 times higher than morphine and 50 times stronger than heroin. It comes in the form of branded prescription drugs such as Actiq and Duragesic. The drug also has street forms with names like Jackpot and TNT. Some of these street drugs consist of heroin laced with fentanyl for a stronger effect.
Doctors generally only prescribe fentanyl for patients with severe conditions. Certain analogs to fentanyl, such as carfentanyl, have such a high potency that they require protective gear to use safely.
How Does Fentanyl Fit Into the Opioid Crisis?According to the CDC, the opioid crisis has three waves that occurred over the course of two and a half decades. The third wave started in 2013 and signaled an increase in overdoses related to synthetic opioids. Deaths related to synthetic opioid overdose often involve illicitly manufactured fentanyl (IMF).
Many people who take IMF don’t realize they’re taking it. Illegal opioid sellers cut heroin and other drugs with fentanyl to enhance the high their products create. Fentanyl’s strength results in severe dependency that causes users to seek out increasingly stronger opioids.
Fentanyl Usage StatisticsConsider the following statistics:
The Importance of Combating Fentanyl Abuse and AddictionSynthetic opioids such as fentanyl caused over 19,000 deaths in 2016. These numbers increase every year. However, behavioral health professionals can help our country reduce these statistics and save lives. They can detect fentanyl addiction and abuse during care, sometimes before abuse even happens. Their role in the healthcare system gives them prime opportunities to refer patients to opioid use specialists. You can fight back against fentanyl abuse by:
Using AccuCare and the Opioid Risk Tool to Predict Aberrant Behaviors
At Orion Healthcare Technology, we want to help behavioral health providers serve their patients. That’s why we added the Opioid Risk Tool (ORT) to our AccuCare EHR application. Developed using in-depth research, the ORT employs simple questions to determine a patient’s risk of opioid abuse. It creates a score that quantifies your patients’ risk of showing aberrant behaviors, or activities that indicate possible abuse. With over 90 percent accuracy, the ORT helps you understand which patients to monitor for opioid abuse.
To learn more about AccuCare, contact our customer support team or request a free demo.
We are pleased to announce the new Opioid Risk Tool (ORT) feature in our AccuCare online system. Opioid abuse impacts the well-being of everyone, and we want to contribute solutions to this nationwide epidemic. Let us explain the importance of preventing opioid addiction and how the ORT can help.
The Importance of Opioid Addiction PreventionOpioid addiction is a critical public health emergency. A surge of prescriptions for opioid painkillers in the 1990s escalated into widespread dependence. Today, over 115 Americans die every day from opioid overdose.
Addiction puts significant stress on the mental and physical health of patients and their loved ones. The United States must dedicate valuable resources to combat the epidemic. Reports estimate that we pay more than $500 billion annually on the opioid crisis. While patient lives are more valuable than any amount of money, this situation also places an economic burden on our country.
Behavioral health specialists have a vital role to play in opioid addiction prevention. Many opioid abuse risk factors involve trauma, mental health issues and previous substance abuse. Behavioral health practices often serve patients who have these vulnerabilities. This field has prime opportunities to identify aberrant behaviors before dependence becomes severe. Using tools such as the ORT helps professionals identify the potential for abuse.
Detecting Prescription Opioid Abuse With the ORTAccuCare’s ORT feature uses a screening tool developed in a 2005 study by Lynn R. Webster, MD, and Rebecca M. Webster. They evaluated 185 pain patients with a self-administered form of the ORT. This questionnaire had over a 90 percent accuracy detecting low-risk and high-risk patients. Patients with high scores were very likely to express aberrant behaviors that indicate opioid abuse within the following 12 months.
The ORT automates opioid abuse risk assessments using simple-to-understand technology. It records the following risk factors:
Enter the answers to nine yes-or-no questions to calculate a patient’s risk of addiction and abuse. Each answer provides a score dependent on the patient’s gender. The same page presents a key showing the level of risk indicated:
You do not need to do any of the math yourself — the ORT tracks your patient’s score automatically. After you finish the assessment, you can visit the Screening Tools/Supplements page to generate a report of the results.
About Orion Healthcare Technology and AccuCareAt Orion Healthcare Technology, we want to give behavioral health practices the tools they need to improve their patients’ lives. Our AccuCare online application allows you to manage your patient records and practice management securely. It helps you every step of the way, whether you need to complete a patient intake or process billing.
It requires careful consideration to choose the right electronic health record system. We provide a free AccuCare demo to help you determine if our software meets your needs. Call us at 844-359-0540, or submit a demo request to get in touch with an Orion representative.
As we continue moving forward into the digital age, new and more efficient technology is being integrated into workflows across a spectrum of industries. Using the latest technologies, companies can now convert all physical documentation, files and records into a digital format, allowing them to send, receive and share information with virtually anyone around the world. Among the many businesses that benefit from the adoption of paperless practices are those in the healthcare industry.
Nearly everyone in the healthcare industry is burdened by excessive documentation. Although administrative personnel are tasked with the responsibility of managing these documents, the constant need to print, file, find, copy, scan, send and edit paperwork can also limit their ability to meet their goals and provide the necessary support to facility staff and patients.
From hospitals and private practices to corporate offices and shared services, any healthcare facility that utilizes a recordkeeping system relying solely on physical documents understands that paperwork can be a burden. Thankfully, there is an easy way to eliminate this inconvenience and enhance your operations. By integrating an electronic health record system into your facility, you can transition to a digital platform that enables your staff to manage these documents in a secure, effective and cost-efficient manner. EHR software is a beneficial resource designed for behavioral clinics.
Benefits of Going Paperless
Many behavioral healthcare practices and administrative offices enjoy the benefits of utilizing an electronic healthcare records system. This digital resource can provide a plethora of advantages to all healthcare facilities. From saving time, space and expenditures to improving security while enhancing accessibility, there are plenty of benefits that paperless EHR management software can bring to your behavioral clinic.
1. A Paperless Process Saves More Than Time
Paperwork is time-consuming and can create significant inconveniences. However, streamlining workflow and improving employee productivity isn’t the only dramatic benefit resulting from going paperless at your practice. Reports show that the misfiling, miscommunicating and mishandling of information causes major problems for administrative staff and patients.
Errors in the physical paperwork process create massive impacts. Administrative mistakes amount to 86 percent of annual medical errors in the industry. Thirty percent of both medical tests and patient charts are routinely unable to be located. Up to 80 percent of errors that evolve into more prominent issues originate from documentation problems and miscommunication. With the administrative department playing such a critical role in your behavioral health practice, it’s important that you provide them with resources like EHR software that will minimize these debilitating issues.
2. Minimizing Physical Documentation Saves Space
Consider the unique filing and storage needs of your healthcare facility. If you’re a small private practice, you may have all records and relevant paperwork condensed into a series of filing cabinets or shelving. Your mid-sized clinic may see a higher frequency of patients, resulting in more paperwork that may need to be organized and stored in a separate records room. For large or corporate entities, your paperwork may be spread out between filing cabinets at administration desks, records rooms on each floor and even locations offsite.
Although there may be specific forms or documents that you are required to keep originals or copies of, you should consider whether your practice actually needs to devote significant physical space to house this important information. By transitioning the physical paperwork processes of your office, practice or network of facilities to an electronic system, you can ensure that all of your critical documents are conveniently stored in digital archives that will not take up physical space in your facilities.
3. It Allows You Amplify Accessibility
As a healthcare provider with a physical archive of paperwork, you may need to provide medical records to neighboring departments or external offices with short notice. Unfortunately, you may be unable to accommodate these requests due to understaffing, the lack of time available or the sheer abundance of records that you need to page through in order to access the correct file. Integrating an electronic patient records system into your office can enable all necessary parties to access this information quickly and even independently.
Not only is it important that those within your practice or organization can research and obtain critical records, converting your physical documentation into a paperless system greatly benefits your patients as well. All patients are legally permitted to access their healthcare information at will. Unfortunately, nearly half of all patients do not retrieve their healthcare records because obtaining the physical documents can be an inconvenient, lengthy and even costly process. Once acquired, it also forces patients to find secure storage for these sensitive documents.
There’s no reason why your office staff should have to spend hours digging through stacks of files to obtain healthcare records. Swift access to this information via EHR software allows you to quickly access patient records, enables your staff to process and archive documentation that can be accessed digitally and provides your patients with a simple and effective way to retrieve their personal medical records.
4. It Also Provides Stronger Security
When many people consider the concept of effectively securing medical records, they may fail to acknowledge every threat that puts the safety of their records in jeopardy. Filing cabinets and records rooms may require keys or approved access which limits the number of individuals who may obtain this information. While this is a responsible way to keep information secure from others, have you considered the other ways the integrity of these documents could be compromised?
Unfortunately, many uncontrollable factors could put these store spaces at risk. Fires, flooding and other natural disasters could render the security of these storage areas useless. Even transporting physical records from facility to facility via mail or private courier creates the risk of these items being lost, stolen or damaged in transit. These documents often contain confidential medical, financial and personal information — storing these records on a digital platform eliminates the possibility of them being damaged or destroyed by these unpredictable factors.
5. Going Paperless Cuts Expenditures and Saves Your Company Money
Whether you’re a small private practice or part of a large healthcare corporation, it’s safe to say that maintaining a responsible annual budget is one of your top business priorities. Finding line items to reduce or eliminate from the yearly expense report does not need to be difficult. You can enhance the workflow of your employees while taking proactive steps to decrease unnecessary expenditures by integrating an EHR system into your office.
Converting your physical paperwork to an electronic patient records system means more than just simplification — it also means cost-cutting. If the average office employee uses up to 10,000 sheets of paper per year, imagine how many reams of copy paper are required to accomplish the responsibilities of just the administrative departments of your company. Why devote valuable portions of your budget year after year to an antiquated system of document processing and filing when there’s a modern solution available that also saves you money?
6. It’s an Eco-Friendly Solution
How environmentally sustainable is your business? Regardless of industry, all businesses have an impact on the environment, which in turn, has an impact on every one of us. Whether your company focuses on environmentalism in your operational ethics or you want to cut down on the excessive use of finite resources, going paperless in your behavioral healthcare facility directly improves your sustainability. Instead of managing recycling processes, you can minimize your company’s environmental impact upfront with EHR systems.
How to Implement a Paperless System
Implementing a paperless system in your behavioral health practice can save time, money, space and hassle. Although this will help your administrative department boost efficiency and simplify their workflows, it will only be an effective resource if this transition is implemented successfully. Many employees may fear the learning curve that operational changes bring. By sufficiently planning out this transition and implementing changes responsibly, you ensure that the process is completed correctly and help your employees smoothly transition to a paperless EHR system.
Orion Healthcare Technologies understands that transitioning from a document-driven office to a paperless clinic may seem like a daunting task. Although it does involve responsible planning and organized execution, you can follow our step-by-step process to make your implementation a success. We’ve compiled the following tips for implementing a paperless system into your behavioral clinic.
Step 1: Evaluate the Practicality of Integrating a Paperless Process in Your Facility
The first step to successfully bringing an idea to fruition is to determine how it needs to be accomplished. As you discover that it is indeed possible to convert your facility’s physical paperwork process to a paperless system, you must begin by planning out the process from start to finish. To help you thoroughly plan for these changes, consider the following questions:
Because these records are confidential, it’s critical that you decide how these documents will be handled from transition until destruction.
Step 2: Set Goals and Deadlines
Remember that this process does not need to be completed all at once. For many practices, transitioning to a paperless EHR system can be a time-consuming endeavor that requires careful attention to ensure all records are updated correctly. As you finish planning out this process, separate the entire project into manageable phases with measurable goals and targeted deadlines. A gradual and procedure-driven schedule will enable you to make noticeable progress, stick to the timeframe and steadily guide your practice through the process.
Step 3: Decide What Office Equipment You’ll Need to Make the Transition
Although you have decided the date you’ll begin creating, updating and storing digital files on the EHR software, you’ll also need to determine how you will convert all of your physical records and documents into digital files. To accomplish this task in an organized and accurate manner, you’ll need equipment that is designed to efficiently scan, sort and send your records quickly and without error. A valuable tool in this process would be a specialty scanner.
How do you determine your facility’s scanning needs? First, identify which members of your staff will need to utilize this resource at a given time. If multiple administrative assistants will be scanning documents while performing their other daily tasks, one or two general-purpose scanners may be adequate. If a single employee will be handling scanning responsibilities, a high-speed scanner featuring an automatic document feeder would be most useful. For teams of individuals tasked with this project, you may want to invest in individual scanners for each workstation.
There are plenty of specialty scanners that were designed to efficiently help you maintain a paperless work environment. For instance, the Fujitsu suite of production scanners is equipped to serve environments that require high throughput, reliability and versatility. They’ll allow you to scan as many as 130 document pages per minute. Many of their models have an automatic document feeder capacity of up to 500 sheets. High-performance scanners will enable your staff to scan thousands of medical records per day which will accelerate your paperless process.
Step 4: Get Your Team On-Board With the Transition
For the paperless transition to truly be effective, it must be positively adopted by your staff. Some of your employees may seem resistant, fearful or overwhelmed at the thought of having to not only help with the transition but also to continue functioning in their role with an EHR software that they are unfamiliar with. This aversion to change should be expected, and there are many ways in which you can comfortably get your employees on-board with the paperless system.
First, assure them that this technology is meant to replace the process, not the people. Highlight the ways in which errors can readily occur using physical documents and described the solutions the EHR software presents. More importantly, explain to them that this adjustment in the workflow will ultimately provide patients with better service.
Your goal is to serve the patients of your practice to the best of your abilities. Implementing a paperless system by transitioning to an electronic health record system is an efficient way to streamline your record keeping and allow you to provide better and more accurate service to your clients. This process can be implemented responsibly through detailed planning, sticking to a goal schedule, utilizing high-performance equipment and gradually acquainting your staff to this new workflow. Once completed, you’ll be ready to rely on Orion’s exceptional EHR software.
Orion’s Paperless EHR and Billing Applications
Electronic health record systems are excellent resources that eliminate the need for processing, storing and updating traditional patient paperwork. This tool automates basic functions by tracking and compiling patient data for streamlined reporting. Orion Healthcare Technology is proud to provide your behavioral healthcare practice with our exceptionally efficient electronic health record and billing application software, the AccuCare EHR system. Our software has enabled clinicians across the country to integrate a paperless process into their facility. AccuCare is perfect for behavioral clinics providing healthcare services including:
Our EHR software features a multi-dimensional assessment that can be customized for ASAM or other criteria to guide your staff through the admission and assessment process to determine client eligibility. From admission to recovery and follow-up support, your staff can easily access, track and update patient records. Orion’s other beneficial AccuCare features include:
Our AccuCare web-based EHR software is one of the only ASAM decision support software available, making it an ideal resource for behavioral health clinics of any size. Orion’s scheduler allows clinicians to track and update both staff and patient schedules and add client notes regarding billing and payment receipts. Our census feature displays all forms of care and treatment your facility is providing on a single, easy-to-read screen. With the ability to limit access control between users, AccuCare provides simplified functionality for all staff, agencies and departments.
Going Paperless in Healthcare With Orion EHR Software
Consider just how many separate forms and documents are filed in your patient records. At any time, your staff may need to retrieve these sensitive documents and provide them to patients, insurance companies or other agencies. Small document storage spaces can become cluttered and disorganized while large offsite storage centers are inconvenient to access at a moment’s notice. Your practice needs an organized and streamlined record keeping system that is accessible, reliable and versatile enough to provide detailed data reports. Your clinic needs paperless EHR software.
Paperwork is a burden your behavioral clinic does not need. Transitioning to electronic health records and implementing the necessary changes to becoming a paperless practice is a strategy that will streamline your administrative operations. Orion’s AccuCare EHR software is the perfect resource for behavioral health centers that require a secure record keeping system that is accessible, ASAM compatible and can generate customized data reports. With our versatile electronic health record and billing applications, your practice has access to an abundance of features on a web-based platform.
Make cumbersome paperwork processes a thing of the past with AccuCare EHR software available from Orion Healthcare Technology. Contact us today and discover how AccuCare’s customizable features are perfect for all behavioral health fields.
Computer security for clinicians works similarly to typical computer security, but health providers need to take extra care to keep their practice’s and patients’ information safe. When you handle your practice’s data, you must ensure that they stay private. Read more to learn about some basic precautions you can take to have optimal electronic health record (EHR) security.
The Importance of Healthcare Cybersecurity
When you manage your home computer’s security, you only have to worry about your own personal information. But when you work with EHR systems, you’re handling the personal information of every single patient you serve. As a health provider, your top goal is to keep your patients safe and healthy. But that principle doesn’t just apply to mental health and addiction — it counts for information safety, too. Your patient has permitted you to use their information, so you want to treat it just like you would your patient.
Managing your computer system’s security is also a crucial aspect of HIPAA compliance. HIPAA involves the care of electronic information in addition to information on paper. Violating HIPAA laws not only puts your patients in danger, but it also subjects you to legal penalties.
How to Make Your Computer and EHR System Secure
While the consequences of lax information security in your practice can be severe, healthcare cybersecurity is fairly simple and affordable. In fact, you may not have to pay any money at all thanks to free software. As part of your cybersecurity habits, you should:
Orion’s AccuCare System
Using a secure EHR system is another way to make sure your patients’ records stay private. Our AccuCare web application operates on our secure servers so you don’t have to worry about managing your practice’s IT infrastructure. We keep hackers away by using the latest in firewall protection, tracking and encryption to manage the application. AccuCare users can access their files from any computer that connects to the internet, letting them safely work with data on-the-go. To learn more about our AccuCare EHR system, contact us and request a free demo.
Various software systems are now available for behavioral health clinics to use, all to the benefit of their patients. Two of the most prominent software technologies available are CIS and EHR systems, which are often confused. To shed light on these systems and what makes them unique, we’ve outlined the benefits and uses of CIS vs. EHR systems and how they can be used together to provide seamless information.
What Is a CIS System?
CIS is short for Clinical Information System, which is a computer-based system designed to collect, store and manipulate clinical information about patients. These systems are often used either in single locations within a clinic or across an entire behavioral health organization. They pick data directly from a variety of sources, including equipment and information repositories on the network, collecting and integrating all data for the future use of physicians.
What Is an EHR System?
EHR is short for Electronic Health Record and serves as a storage system for healthcare data for patients. EHR connects to various software systems, collecting the data for immediate use by the physician during patient meetings or checkups. These systems are connected to CIS, HIS, RIS, PACS and LIS systems, collecting data from these sources and integrating it all into a seamless report.
What Are the Differences Between CIS and EHR Systems?
While these systems may seem very similar, they serve entirely different purposes. CIS is highly specific, storing and managing information collected directly from equipment and caretaker inputs. The EHR is more generalized and serves as a way to provide seamless, unified information about the patient to the physician to inform their care. In other words, these two technologies differ in the following ways:
How Do They Work Together?EHR and CIS systems can work together to provide a more comprehensive view of a patient’s health. EHR systems can pull information from CIS systems to deliver detailed information to decision-making physicians so that they are better able to treat their patients appropriately. These CIS and EHR benefits are taken one step further with cloud-based EHR systems, which can deliver this information to physicians regardless of their location. They can then respond more immediately. The result, in short, is a more responsive healthcare experience for patients.
Orion’s AccuCare system offers these benefits and more with a system that is customized to fit the needs of mental and behavioral health clinics. On top of the benefits of a web-based EHR system, we can deliver even more functionality with one that will work for you instead of against you.
Are you interested in learning more about the capabilities of the Orion Healthcare Technology EHR system? Call 800-324-7966 or contact us online to get a FREE demonstration of the software.
On-premise systems used to be the norm and preference for doctors, but as technology has changed, so have opinions. As more vendors and doctors have recognized the benefits of cloud-based EHR technology, these systems have become increasingly popular in the behavioral health community. To help understand this trend and the reason behind it, we’ve summarized what makes cloud-based EHR systems uniquely beneficial to the industry.
What Are the Differences Between Cloud-Based and On-Premise EHR Systems?
EHR systems fall into one of two categories: cloud-based or on-premise. Cloud-based, or online EHR systems, back up the data of the practice on an external server, offering all the functions of an EHR system through an internet browser. This type of system means that to access the EHR system, all a physician needs is a computer with an internet connection.
On-premise or client-server systems, on the other hand, store data in-house, requiring that the location have a server, hardware and software installed on-location. This option means that data is only able to be accessed on-location.
What Are the Benefits of Cloud-Based EHR Systems?Despite the sense of control offered by an on-premise system, in-house servers have quickly fallen out of favor in exchange for the more functional cloud-based system. Practices are increasingly switching to these cloud systems because of the numerous benefits they offer, including:
Orion’s AccuCare system offers these benefits and more with a system that is further customized to fit the needs of mental and behavioral health clinics. With an intimate understanding of the field and extensive experience in EHR system development, we can promise a system that will work for you instead of against you.
If you’re interested in knowing more about what a cloud-based EHR system can do for your practice, contact Orion Healthcare Technology. Learn more about Orion’s comprehensive, user-friendly EHR and billing solutions by calling 800-324-7966. We’ll provide you with a FREE demonstration of our AccuCare web-based system!
Health information technology has experienced an explosion in the last several years, with the biggest expansions in EHR usage statistics. Even a decade ago, the majority of American doctors updated their patient records by hand in color-coded files. Today, however, the majority of doctors are now making use of electronic health records, or EHRs. To help give you an idea of what is going on in healthcare information technology today, we’ve collected some of the latest EHR usage statistics and what they mean for the future of healthcare information technology.
EHR Adoption Statistics
The adoption of EHR systems has steadily grown over the past several years. From 2008 to 2015, the adoption of EHR systems among office-based physicians nearly doubled from 42 to 87 percent. Across the industry as a whole, 67 percent of all providers across all specializations reported that they used an EHR system as of March 2017, with internal medicine, pediatrics, nephrology, family practice and urology exhibiting the highest adoption rates.
Healthcare information technology specialists expect that these numbers will continue to rise, especially as web-based EHR systems gain traction and younger doctors enter the field.
EHR Cost Statistics
The healthcare industry as a whole has shown an increased interest in spending money on electronic systems. In 2014, 67 percent of providers expected to increase their IT spending by 10 percent or more, and in 2015, projections showed that providers would expand their spending on electronic systems by 88 percent to an estimated $37 billion. For many, the focus was on their EHR systems.
Despite this willingness to spend money on electronic systems, many healthcare providers still paid much more than they expected. On average, an on-premise EHR can cost $40,000 just to set up, not including maintenance costs, and healthcare providers spend an average of $117,672 per year on EHR software and end up paying 37 percent more than they expected to contribute.
These costs aren’t leveling out, either — as of 2017, 45 percent of providers reported that they had spent over $100,000 on an EHR system, and 98 percent attributed their increased IT spending to the costs of their EHR system.
Orion offers a better solution, with a web-based EHR system that minimizes your costs instead of increasing them. With the AccuCare system, your organization benefits from more accurate patient information, more accessible records and reduced software and hardware costs. If you’re interested in reducing your EHR costs, call 800-324-7966 for a FREE consultation and demonstration.
EHR Functionality Statistics
Despite spending so much money on their EHR systems, 67 percent of providers reported that they were dissatisfied with the functionality of their EHR systems, and 40 percent of hospital executives reported either dissatisfaction or indifference toward their current EHR systems. For many, it seems, problems lie in on-premise EHR system and their limited functionality, both of which can be solved by a web-based system like Orion’s AccuCare.
Regarding functionality, 51.6 percent of providers reported that their top criteria for selecting an EHR was connectivity, while 43.2 percent said that cost was their primary concern. Orion addresses both of these needs, with a system that is cost-effective and highly functional, featuring all of the capabilities needed by mental and behavioral health clinics.
If you’re interested in learning more about Orion Healthcare Technology’s AccuCare system and how it can help your practice streamline its workflows and maximize its patient care, take a look at the system for yourself! Learn more about Orion’s comprehensive, easy-to-use EHR system and how it can integrate into your organization by calling 800.324.7966 – we’ll give you a FREE consultation, demonstration and estimate for our web-based solutions.
When your practice manages several different patients, you have to pay careful attention to detail and documentation to properly process claims and handle transactions like insurance payments. Doing so without missing anything can be challenging, which is why many companies choose outsourced medical billing. If you’re looking to reduce medical billing costs using this method, you can trust Orion Healthcare Technology for our experience in the field, which allows us to offer quality service and proven solutions.
Before you make any decisions, it’s critical to understand the benefits of outsourcing medical billing. Just a few of the many advantages you’ll gain include:
Choose Orion Healthcare Technology
If you’re ready to reap these benefits along with several others, contact us right away or give us a call at 800.324.7966 to learn more about our outsourced medical billing services or get a free consultation and estimate. We look forward to helping!
Combating the opioid epidemic starts with knowledge. As you read on, you’ll learn more about the opioid crisis, its history and what’s being done about it today. You’ll discover that fighting opioid addiction with technology — like through the use of electronic health record (EHR) systems — can play a big role in the solution.
An Introduction to Opioids and Opioid Addiction
Opioids are drugs developed to mimic opium’s pain-reducing properties. Opioids bind to your spinal cord and brain receptors, disrupting pain signals and activating your brain’s reward areas by releasing the dopamine hormone, which creates a “high” feeling or euphoria. Opioids include legal medications — such as hydrocodone, morphine, Vicodin and oxycodone, all prescribed for chronic and acute pain — plus illegal drugs like fentanyl and heroin.
Opioid Addiction Statistics
Behavioral health providers all over the country are trying to tackle an increasing national public health emergency. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), opioid and other drug overdose deaths are continuing to grow in the U.S. Opioids make up around 66 percent of most drug overdose-related deaths.
Other statistics about opioid addiction from the CDC include:
Since 1999, non-prescription opioid use has quadrupled, according to a National Institute of Health 2016 report. Lowering the number of prescriptions for these drugs is a primary focus in reversing the opioid addiction trend. Behavioral and mental health treatments are also instrumental in dealing with the opioid epidemic.
History of the Opioid Epidemic
The United States has struggled with opioid abuse since before the 1900s, including:
CNN, in their article “Opioid History: From ‘Wonder Drug’ to Abuse Epidemic,” provides a history of opioid use and addiction. At its beginning, morphine was used to treat the injuries of civil war veterans at the turn of the century, who consequently became addicted to opioids. At this point, drugs were already a problem, and people were consuming them at disturbing rates a long time before the war even started.
Bayer Co. started another opioid production, heroin, in 1898, for commercial use. Many had thought of it as a “wonder drug” since its beginning clinical trials. However, addicts began to discover you could amplify its effects by injecting it. People used drugs like heroin as a way to suppress their cough. Since there weren’t a lot of other options available, more and more individuals began using opioids as painkillers.
By the 1920s, those prescribing the opioids figured out their highly addictive nature and tried to refrain from prescribing them to patients. In 1924, lawmakers declared heroin illegal for importation, manufacture and possession — and even for medicinal purposes. U.S. drug use increased so rapidly in the 1970s that the President at the time made it a point to begin studying the issue. The recommendations were that the Customs Service and Drug Enforcement Administration focus less on intercepting cocaine and marijuana traffickers and more on heroin.
After Vicodin and Percocet appeared on the market in the late 1970s, prescribers were educated already on avoiding prescribing patients highly addictive opioids. However, a letter in the New England Journal of Medicine in January 1980 resisted the belief that opioid use for treating chronic pain was risky. It indicated addiction development was unlikely in patients who didn’t have an addiction history.
Pharmaceutical companies, in the late 1990s, reassured the healthcare community that addiction wouldn’t be a problem for patients taking opioid painkillers. As a result, the number of opioid prescriptions dispensed grew tremendously and at faster rates. With the increase in opioid medication prescriptions came more widespread abuse of both non-prescription and prescription opioids. It had finally become clear they were indeed extremely addictive.
At the same time, terminally ill patients began receiving more opioid prescriptions. Both researchers and prescribers wanted to look at treating chronic pain patients.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse conducted a study showing the number of prescriptions filled for painkillers in the early 1990s by U.S. pharmacies grew by two to three million every year. This number climbed by eight million from 1995 to 1996.
Opioid Addiction Today
Opiate dependence is a chronic disease and a widespread behavioral health problem today. In March 2017, the National Institutes on Drug Abuse reported more than 115 people in the U.S. die every day from an opioid-related overdose. Opioid misuse and addiction — including heroin, prescription painkillers and synthetic opioids like fentanyl — is now a severe national emergency. It affects not only public health but also economic and social welfare.
With some reports estimating it costs the U.S. more than $500 billion annually, the prescription opioid epidemic is creating a vast “economic burden” in the U.S. — including outlays for:
What Is Being Done About the Opioid Epidemic?
Individuals and organization are making numerous efforts in confronting and combating the opioid epidemic:
1. Establishment of New CDC Guidelines
The growing mortality rate has developed a public health problem resulting in the CDC setting forth new guidelines in March 2016 for those prescribing opioids for chronic pain. These guidelines offer prescribing doctors recommendations for chronic pain not in the realm of palliative care, active cancer treatment or end-of-life care.
Specifically, the CDC guidelines address:
2. Building Behavioral Health Systems
As this opioid overdose epidemic worsens, mental and behavioral health providers use resources and tools to assist with detecting and preventing the abuse and misuse of opioids by their patients.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is working on building a behavioral health system to enable people in the U.S. to find services and effective treatments in their communities for opioid addiction and other mental and substance use disorders. As a result of changes in healthcare laws, the removal of barriers to accessing behavioral health services makes it easier for individuals to get treatment.
For instance, many healthcare plans now provide coverage for substance abuse and mental health treatments.
3. Implementation of a Five-Point Opioid Strategy
In October 2017, Health and Human Services (HHS) declared the opioid crisis a national public health emergency. In April 2017, HHS announced a five-point Opioid Strategy. It provides a framework to take advantage of the resources and expertise of HHS facilities in an organized and calculated way. The evidence-based, comprehensive Opioid Strategy focuses on these five priorities:
4. Increased Community Support
More campaigns for community awareness are taking place to educate consumers about the ramifications of using opiates — and more are needed. National campaign seminars and literature are becoming freely accessible and distributed to the public.
5. Broadened Access to Naloxone
As an antidote for opioid overdose, naloxone has reversed nearly 27,000 opioid overdoses in the U.S. from 1996 to 2014. Until recently, only emergency personnel carried naloxone in an injectable form. Currently, several states have approved expanded access to naloxone, meaning it is now available at some pharmacies over-the-counter.
The new form is user-friendly. A hand-held auto-injector enables family members and caregivers to deliver an immediate response to an overdose. Efforts are underway to make a nasal spray available for even easier use.
6. Increased Supply of Buprenorphine
Through an updated federal rule, the HHS recently allowed for an increased supply of buprenorphine, which can be an effective treatment for opioid use disorder. The previous supply was inadequate to address the nation’s prescription opioid crisis. Designed to give those addicted to opioids greater access to buprenorphine, HHS has increased the patient limit for prescribing the treatment from 100 to 275.
7. National Leaders Taking a Stance
National community leaders are also tackling the opioid addiction problem by challenging lawmakers to quicken anti-abuse drug approval and stop the illegal importation of opioids from other countries.
States are looking into lax opioid prescription protocols, whereby governing entities are studying ways to regulate and standardize prescription practices to reduce painkiller abuse.
8. Integration of Health IT Tools
Electronic records can be a major benefit in the efforts against opioid abuse. Keeping itemized and precise records of a patient’s history is instrumental in discovering patients with a history of substance abuse. This is particularly helpful when trying to identify a patient who “shops” for doctors to prescribe them an opioid painkiller. EHR records can play a key role in identifying people who are addicted to opioids and encouraging them to get help.
The country’s health information exchange (HIE) organizations are working on enhancing the flow of data — particularly as it applies to prescription information — to help address opioid abuse and misuse.
How EHRs Help Combat the Opioid Crisis
Comprehensive electronic records are another opioid addiction preventative measure. It’s essential that behavioral health administrators and providers record data accurately into the Electronic Health Records (EHR) system when a patient that is using or misusing opioids comes into their office. With essential electronic health records, behavioral health providers can share important documentation with other healthcare system organizations, or across state lines, about patient opioid use.
Clinical directors, CEOs, IT directors and administrators and practices all over the U.S. are implementing electronic health records and opioid daily practices within a system to track patient data and prescriptions. The advantages of EHR systems in efforts to combat the opioid epidemic have been significant. Some benefits of fighting opioid addiction with technology — including Orion AccuCare — include:
A wide range of therapeutic practices surrounds behavioral health, from addiction treatment to mental health. Behavioral health practices, with this broad range of services, require an EHR system to keep up. EHR services keep everything running smoothly in the back office, whereas paper-based systems waste valuable resources and time.
Orion Healthcare Technology’s AccuCare EHR System
Orion’s EHR system, AccuCare, is designed specifically for the behavioral therapy industry. It can serve many purposes — including a behavioral therapy billing system as well as a therapy notes platform for use during counseling. It equips therapists with the resources and tools they require to handle the administrative and technological requirements of today’s behavioral healthcare field. The AccuCare system gives therapists the support they need to treat mental health disorders and substance abuse effectively — including opioid addiction.
The EHR system replaces standard paper charts. It also maintains, compiles and tracks it to streamline reporting. The electronic health record system handles patient healthcare history in a convenient computerized version. It contains essential patient records such as:
Features of AccuCare
While the AccuCare EHR system provides many beneficial features, some functions are of special significance to the opioid epidemic and those tasked with reversing it:
Other benefits and features of AccuCare EHR software include:
Contact Orion Healthcare Technology Today for a Free AccuCare Demo
Every product built by Orion Healthcare Technology is tailored to meet the specific needs of behavioral health practices in today’s modern world of healthcare. Here at Orion, we offer a whole range of custom services and technology solutions. Contact Orion today about our EHR system and request your free AccuCare demo, or give us a call at 800.324.7966.