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Benefits-of-Electronic-health-records

Top 10 Benefits of Electronic Health Records | Going Paperless

Having electronic health records means that you can document all your clinic’s tasks digitally and in real-time without the need for paper charts. Beyond being paperless, there are many other advantages of EHRs to consider. Below we discuss specifically how individual clinics and enterprise organizations benefit from SMART’s Cloud-Based EHR – powered by AWS.

Benefits to individual clinics

Clinics improve staff collaboration and patient care with easily accessible information and reports automation.

Individual clinics
  1. Reduces redundancy of data entry; everything is in the system and is only a few clicks away.
  2. Saves physical space and office supply costs without the need for a chart room.
  3. No more time wasted filing and searching for paper charts.
  4. Expedites and automates receipt of lab test results.
  5. Organizes information making it easy to find simplifying quality control.
  6. Submits co-signatures on treatment plans, service delivery notes, medical orders, and forms remotely which reduces unnecessary travel time.
  7. Auto alerts and reminders help to ensure that you meet patient’s treatment needs on time.
  8. Optimizes admissions capacity with auto-scheduling and pre-admissions screening.
  9. Maximizes revenue and decreases data entry with an integrated insurance billing module.
  10. Better tools and technology improve communication, staff retention, and employee satisfaction.

“SMART provides real-time information that allows staff to feel confident in their clinical decisions.”

Eileen, Director, Boston Public Health

Benefits to enterprise organizations

Managing a network of treatment programs can be challenging but with SMART’s cloud-based EHR software, you can create consistency across all locations while scaling to your growing needs.

Enterprise organizations
  1. Stores all your clinical information safely in one place.
  2. Saves operational costs by decreasing the need for equipment upgrades, IT resources, and EHR updates.
  3. Creates uniformity and consistency across all OTP locations.
  4. Establishes your corporate model of forms, services, and reporting.
  5. Reduces administrative costs by automating processing and reporting.
  6. Simplifies insurance, self-pay account management, and reporting functions with data-entry-free billing.
  7. Scales to your needs allowing you to adjust size and performance with no downtime.
  8. Automatically and seamlessly makes updates and improvements to the system.
  9. Leverages the latest technologies (like SMARTBridge™).
  10. Integrates with billing systems and state reporting eliminating the double entry of data.

Here are some advantages that clinics often overlook

Once you are operational with paperless health records, ensure that you are using all the features available. This will help you be even more efficient.

Create templates wherever possible

  • Service type templates save your teams from writing repetitive notes and allows them to see the exact data they need.
  • Release-of-information templates allow your team to choose a pre-populated template saving time on data entry and disclosure tracking.
  • Agency referral lists (via SMART’s QSOA feature) allow your team to quickly find referral sources and track expiring agreements.

Leverage our EHR’s secure cloud environment to build your key business rules for:

Integrate your billing processes

Outsourcing insurance billing to a third-party often costs more than processing it in-house. SMART’s paperless billing module gives users the ability to successfully manage the revenue cycle in-house.

Experience matters

SMART’s 100% paperless health records software has more than 25 years of experience serving opioid treatment programs. SMART has the unique ability to relate to the day-to-day challenges of medication-assisted treatment professionals because we’ve worked there too. President and CEO David L. Piccoli, II, was inspired to help his family’s network of opioid treatment facilities go paperless in the early 90’s. Since then, SMART’s EHR continues to grow with all our partners as they expand and transition more locations to have 100% paperless health records.

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Paper charts vs. 100% Paperless Health Records

What’s the Difference?

The difference between paper charts and having 100% paperless health records can be game-changing. Being 100% paperless means there are ZERO physical patient charts or paper forms. You process every document in your clinic electronically. However, if your staff documents everything on paper and then scans it into the patient chart, you may be considered “paperless,” but not 100% paperless. Also important to note, scanning hand-written patient information also means it’s not searchable and deriving metrics would be a tedious, manual process. The data is “invisible” to a computer if it’s hand-written. Whether you are partially paperless or are considering going paperless, it’s important to understand how to get the most out of your record keeping-system.

What issues are most common amongst clinics that aren’t fully-paperless? 

Time and time again, we’ve seen EHR users taking actions (or not taking actions) that hold them back from being truly 100% paperless. The need to continuously file paper patient charts may not seem like a big deal if it’s what you’ve always done, but think about the alternative.

Organizational efficiency

Filling out, organizing, filing, then later going back to dig through patient records eats up a ton of time that could be spent on patient care.

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In a 100% paperless environment, everyone at the clinic has access to the same up-to-the-minute patient information at the same time. If there is a development with a patient, which is not noted immediately and electronically, there could be important treatment-related information missed by another clinician. 

Quality control

When a 100% paperless clinic switches to a new form, it is automatically utilized across all patient files. In a partially paperless environment, different staff members might be using different versions of the same form.

Auditing Paperless Health Records

Managing services can be challenging regardless of how you keep your records. However, this process can be vastly improved by doing it all electronically. For example, SMART’s EHR can be set to schedule all regulatory services as soon as the Admit and Discharge buttons are clicked.  This feature enables clinical and medical staff to run their own Service Due Reports. Management teams also have the ability to run quality control reports to ensure patients are receiving the right services. 

Auditing paperless health records is also simplified when everything is easy to navigate and available electronically. Since everything is accessible remotely, quality control teams don’t need to travel to the clinic.  Moreover, the QC reports in SMART’s EHR make it easy to located and focus on problem areas. 

Data collection standards

Creating service type templates can greatly improve data collection. You can build in the questions you would like your treatment teams to document for each service delivered. Additionally, statistical and patient population data collection is easily usable. This makes completing grants as well as state and internal reporting much more efficient. No more sorting through and keeping Excel documents up-to-date. 

What is holding you back from having 100% paperless health records?

Access and outage concerns

Often there is a fear of not being able to access electronic patient charts when the power is out or a system is down. Fortunately, you can protect against this and run at optimal efficiency by implementing safeguards, like the ones mentioned below, to reduce the possibility of an outage.

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Important considerations with paperless health records:

Establish more than one internet network connection. Configure a redundant Internet connection to ensure that there is one connection to the internet at all times.

Have a back-up generator. In nearly all scenarios, your operations will cease in a power outage. For this reason, you should secure a generator for the most critical aspects of your clinic and, especially, with paperless health records operations. 

Hardware inevitably fails, seemingly at the worst possible times. SMART’s Cloud-Based EHR, powered by Amazon Web Services (AWS), takes your hardware concerns off the table. SMART operates a fully-redundant AWS cloud environment which leverages layer upon layer of redundant technology. With these measures in place, the odds and impact of a connection failure are minimal.

Prepare for disasters with automatic backups. As a 100% paperless chart, SMART’s EHR software secures all data in the cloud. Backups run every 30 seconds reducing the risk of data loss.  Having owned and operated clinics in the past, SMART is intimately familiar with what can happen if a clinic experiences a fire or other disaster. Being paperless, with automatic backups means we avoided losing access to crucial information.

Equipment investment

Equipment_Paperless-Health-Records

Another deterrent to migrating 100% to paperless health records might be the expense of servers, PCs, signature pads, label printers, pumps, etc. making it is easy to put off the transition. However, the drawbacks of not being 100% paperless far outweigh the costs of transitioning. With SMART’s cloud-based solution, your EHR becomes an operational expenditure instead of a capital expenditure. Monthly billing allows you to subscribe only the number of users you need and we can adjust as your needs change.


“SMART integrates every facet of our clinic from dispensing, to counseling, to administration.”

Paul J., Administrator (former), Addiction Treatment Center of New England

Fear of change

Overcoming staff opposition to change can be a challenge. The first step is shifting your focus to educating staff about the benefits and added productivity of a paperless environment. Leadership can ease the transition by promoting positivity and cultivating user perceptions. 

Even so, adjusting to a new system can still be challenging; especially for those accustomed to paper as their primary means of record-keeping. SMART helps to mitigate these fears with our implementation process which is designed to get teams up and running quickly and with confidence. Once you commit to implementing an EHR, it is important to work with your vendor to ensure that your staff is informed throughout the process helping to avoid resistance and confusion. 

Successfully implementing paperless health records  

Goals and communication

Successful implementations rely heavily upon continuous and clear communications between the EHR vendor and EHR users. Before the implementation begins, a solid foundation should be set by providing a clear understanding of the process that should be expected. Every member of both teams should fully understand all requirements and who owns what responsibilities. 

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Having a comprehensive procedures checklist goes a long way toward keeping everyone on track with what tasks are due and what is upcoming. Part of the checklist procedure is to identify forms, templates, and systems settings. 


“They made us feel completely confident in the system in a week. They are all exceptional.”

Heather, Clinical Director, Acadia Healthcare

Training and support

Another important step is customizing comprehensive training before and after go-live. For our partners,  training is delivered both on-site and remotely by our team of training experts. After implementation and training is complete, our Partner Support and Partner Success Teams take charge of the clinic’s ongoing care. 


“I really like the new SMART System. It makes our job that much easier. The trainers were all friendly and helpful. They made our transition to SMART very easy.”  

Charity G., Nurse, Pinnacle Treatment Centers

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Cloud Based EHR | 8 Great Security Benefits

Data Security is serious business. Fortunately, SMART’s Cloud-Based EHR complies with HIPAA’s security rule which requires specific protections to safeguard patient electronic health record information. Our EHR Platform – powered by AWS – builds in these safeguards and AWS adheres to all HIPAA protocols. Moreover, world-class companies like Adobe Systems, Siemens, Expedia, and Netflix rely on AWS. However, this cloud infrastructure is impossible to replicate for on-premises software users. We know there are concerns when considering a move to a cloud-based EHR. But many of these concerns are addressed by the inherent advantages of the platform. Below is a list of security benefits that can add value and give organizations peace of mind.

Top Security Advantages of SMART’s Cloud-Based EHR Platform

  1. Audit Controls  Maintains audit logging for all data assets to detect inappropriate access, tracking unauthorized disclosures, measuring performance problems, detecting intrusion attempts, and for the support of investigations.
  2. Data Integrity Controls – Includes a complete set of HIPAA policies for administrative controls. These include physical protections, staff training, and maintaining a “culture of security”.
  3. Malware Protection – Employs multiple layers of protection throughout our on-premises systems and AWS cloud presence.
  4. Encryption – Encrypts all protected health information (PHI) to the NIST AES-256 standard or better. This occurs at-rest as well as in motion within SMART’s AWS Cloud presence.
  5. Backup & Data Storage – Provides point-in-time recovery for cloud-based customers. In the unlikely event that a database restore is necessary, the latest backup is no older than 7 minutes with the next-oldest full database backup being from the previous night. We maintain one year of daily database backups and migrate older backups to the AWS Glacier for long-term retention. Specific data is retrievable from any of the available backup copies. (A fee applies for this service)
  6. Automatic Logoff – Configurable auto-logoff feature in compliance with this HIPAA rule.
  7. Security Incidents – Comprehensive procedures to detect and respond to security incidents. A HIPAA-compliant detailed breach analysis and reporting process supports our procedures.
  8. Contingency Operations – Adheres policies and procedures for responding to emergencies and disasters. This process focuses on helping you to regain access to your software and data quickly.

    As you can see, SMART’s Cloud provides significant advantages and tremendous value. Our partners enjoy confidence in data security and accessibility allowing them to focus on operations and patient care.

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    Medication Dispensing Software | Time Saving System Now in Ohio

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    CAAA team with SMART Training Specialist Cassity

    SMART is now serving Ohio with medication-dispensing software for opioid treatment. Beyond patient dosing, this EHR is a 100% paperless, complete clinic management system. It provides the functionality for admissions, insurance billing, as well as clinical and medical services.
     
    Community Action Against Addiction (CAAA) chose SMART to streamline their OTP operations. This nonprofit operates OTP, residential, and outpatient services with a caring and supportive staff. “From the CEO through to the security team, this staff cared about their clients,” shared SMART’s Lead Training Specialist Cassity Asher. “Their number one focus was meeting the need of the client and how SMART would help them reach that objective.” Likewise, helping providers focus on patient care is a priority for SMART. After all, SMART was specifically designed to improve efficiencies at their own network of addiction treatment facilities. Today this mission continues with partners like CAAA.
     

    Time-saving systems improve patient care

    BillingStaff_ Medication Dispensing Software | Time Saving System Now in Ohio

    Charlene (L) and Lera (R), CAAA Billing department

    SMART is 100% paperless which is essential to maximizing productivity. It eliminates redundant data entry – an otherwise time-wasting task. Being paperless means all data is within the software and accessible by other team members. To that end, SMART’s EHR organizes information in an easy to find way which saves time and resources.

     
    Similarly, SMART’s clinical and medical modules improve team collaboration and patient care. Real-time treatment data means no more wasted time sorting and searching through paper charts. Everyone is viewing the most current patient data which improves patient safety and reduces risk to the clinic.
     
    Also, medication inventory management in SMART helps staff reduce dosing errors. “Checks and balances” of inventory ensure accuracy. SMART supports medication dispensing, patient check-in queue, dose verification, and all DEA reporting. And customizable templates make gathering and saving important information a smooth and reliable process. Each staff member can clearly see what information is required.
     
    And the Insurance Billing Module simplifies billing and self-pay account management by minimizing data entry. It also includes reporting capabilities to track and manage finances. At implementation, SMART provides system training including a thorough review of this module. CAAA’s Billing Specialist, Charlene shared that “The billing trainer was extremely knowledgeable in training the billing department.”
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    Addiction Treatment Center Opens Paperless Office

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    Program Director, Kelli Hood (right) with Clinical Supervisor, David Thomas (left)

    A new addiction treatment center is now open as a paperless office in Shelbyville, Kentucky. This Acadia clinic uses SMART’s EHR as their complete clinic management system. SMART trainers and Shelbyville associates set-up the clinic’s operational workflow during this implementation. Clinical Supervisor, David Thomas shared his experience with our onsite trainer. “Sandy has been absolutely wonderful!!! I would very much recommend her, and would absolutely work with her again!”

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    Lobby at Shelbyville Comprehensive Treatment Center

    A Network of Paperless Offices

    SMART is proud to partner with Acadia since 2013 and has been the software of choice, since 1992, for clinics now under their management. Our EHR grows with their network as they continue to expand and transition locations. It helps to create consistency across the board by centralizing and storing information in one place. This is particularly beneficial for managing large addiction treatment center networks.

    A Powerful Platform

    Amazon Web Services (AWS) powers SMART’s new EHR platform. Hundreds of thousands of businesses, operating in 190 countries trust AWS for their operational needs.  This HIPAA compliant cloud storage provides real-time redundant data backups and 99.995% uptime. This protects individual clinics and networks from data loss. And Amazon’s virtual private cloud (VPC) enables network isolation. This allows SMART to isolate portions of partner networks for configuration in specific areas. Learn more about SMART.

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    Automated Medication Dispensing System Manages OTP Inventory | Arkansas

    SMART EHR Implementation_Automated Medication Dispensing System for OTPs | Arkansas

    SMART Trainer Cynthia (R) with Stockton Assistant Administrator, Starr (L)

    SMART’s automated medication dispensing system, along with this EHR’s complete clinic management system, is now running at Stockton Medical Group.  Their compassionate staff helps individuals struggling with addiction through advocacy, counseling and medication-assisted treatment (MAT). MAT decreases withdrawal symptoms, increases individual stability, and reduces risk of relapse. Recovery inspires the ongoing development of SMART’s EHR. With more than 25 years of experience, this EHR intuitively organizes operations at opioid treatment clinics like Stockton.

    Dosing with SMART’s Automated Medication Dispensing System

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    Stockton and SMART associates gather for group photo

    Managing many treatment programs within one system can be challenging. Accordingly, Stockton is taking on these issues by integrating SMART’s EHR across their six locations. This EHR manages medication inventory, reduces dosing errors, and protects patient safety. Additionally, the reports in SMART’s Medication Inventory Management module simplify key information. As a result, they can streamline preparation for DEA audits.

    Following this EHR implementation, Operations Manager Lianna shared her experience. “I appreciated the friendliness and continued help from the SMART team.” SMART’s implementation team appreciates the importance of a great support system. In fact, many have extensive clinical, operational management, and technical expertise.

    About SMART’s EHR

    SMART’s Electronic Health Record goes beyond medication dispensing. It is a full clinic management system for opioid treatment programs. This paperless EHR improves productivity by automating other key processes and reports. These include service scheduling, QA reporting, and test results posting. Moreover, the integrated Insurance Billing Module maximizes revenue and decreases data entry.  Learn more about SMART’s EHR Solutions.

     

    Digital Health Records Upgrade Alaska_SMART EHR for OTPs

    Digital Health Records Upgrade Alaska | Smart Management

    Digital Health Records Upgrade Alaska

    Training session with SMART

    Anchorage Comprehensive Treatment Center upgraded their digital health records. They chose SMART’s EHR for paperless operations and billing efficiency. This digital health records software improves the workflow of opioid treatment programs through automation. Acadia’s doctors, counselors, and nurses provide treatment to individuals affected by addiction. This includes, morphine, prescription pain medications, and heroin. They treat patients with a combination of therapy and medication-assisted treatment.

    How This Digital Health Records Software Streamline OTPs

    SMART’s EHR helps streamline processes from the first time a patient calls until discharge. For example, it organizes new patient inquiries. This enables a smooth transition from patient screening, to wait-listing, or referral to another agency. And the assessment tool collects all data elements to meet state and modality requirements.

    Digital Health Records Upgrade Alaska_SMART EHR for OTPsAdditionally, the integrated billing module simplifies third party billing. Such as, insurance eligibility, drug formularies, billing, payment plans, co-payment, and account management. It also maximizes revenue and decreases data entry. By automating key tasks, clinicians, counselors, and doctors are able to spend more time on what matters most; patient care.

    About SMART

    SMART is proud to partner with Acadia since 2013 and has been the software of choice, since 1992, for clinics now under their management. As their network of treatment facilities grows, SMART’s EHR grows with them. This complete clinic management system has state-specific modules to satisfy local requirements. SMART’s EHR operates in several countries and 28 states and territories. Learn more

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    New electronic health record system, ACADIA Wisconsin 

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    Madison staff with SMART Trainer

    SMART’s electronic health record system is now operating at Acadia’s four CARF Accredited treatment centers in Wisconsin.  These clinics are a part of their larger network that provides medically assisted treatment to individuals suffering from addiction.  This includes treatment with Methadone, Buprenorphine, Suboxone, and Vivitrol. Their expert staff supports medically assisted treatment with well-rounded therapy sessions.

    Electronic Health Record System for Organizational Uniformity

    Acadia chose SMART’s electronic health record system to support paperless operations, insurance billing, and to create uniformity across their network. For enterprise organizations uniformity is crucial. With SMART’s cloud-based EHR storage of all clinic’s information is in one place. By doing this, establishment of corporate model and forms, services, and reporting is made easy. And, insurance, self-pay account management, and reporting functions are simplified with data-entry-free billing.

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    10th Street Team with Trainer Sandy

    Simplifying Transitioning – New Electronic Health Record System

    Moving to a new EHR can be challenging. Many of our Training Team members have experience working within clinics. They understand the challenges faced every day. Because of this, they are passionate about making transitioning as hassle-free as possible. Acadia Clinical Supervisor, Quillan, shared that, “The Trainers were very personable, professional, and knowledgeable. We enjoyed working with them, their experience and mastery of the system was evident and their ability to present the information in meaningful and understandable terms was remarkable. We especially appreciate their patience and willingness to work with us individually and walk us thru the steps, in some cases repeatedly, until we were comfortable, and their use of humor as a teaching tool and patience made learning a new system much easier. They were very approachable and were able to answer every question asked of them. Amazing team…”

    Learn more about SMART’s EHR for opioid treatment or view the full Wisconsin implementation album.

    New EHR Platform AATOD 2018

    New EHR Platform AATOD 2018

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    SMART is showcasing our new EHR platform at the AATOD Conference, March 10-14th in New York City.  Since 1991, our EHR has evolved from an on-premise to a cloud-based software solution. Now, Amazon Web Services (AWS) hosts SMART’s cloud-based EHR. Hundreds of thousands of business, in 190 countries, trust AWS for their hosting needs. This technology helps us deliver our Partners the most powerful EHR solution yet.

    Benefits: SMART’s New EHR Platform

    New EHR Platform AATOD 2018Our EHR Partners enjoy the enhanced information security in AWS. This includes real-time redundant data backups, network isolation, and data encryption. Another benefit is scalability. This is especially important for large enterprise organizations. The size and performance of their data network adjusts, as they expand, with no downtime. Partners using SMART’s cloud-based EHR also save on operational costs. Such as, equipment upgrades, software updates, and IT resources. And, SMART EHR Partners enjoy the improved efficiency. On AWS, our EHR increases speed and performance and automates key processes.

    More on AATOD 2018

    AATOD 2018Every eighteen months the AATOD brings together national and international opioid treatment professionals. The conference focus this year is on Advancing & Integrating Specialized Addiction Treatment & Recovery. Presenters and attendees explore the latest in evidence-based treatments, techniques, and collaborative strategies. Learn more