Addiction Treatment Electronic Medical Records or Electronic Filing Cabinets?
Addiction treatment electronic medical records are required to be HIPAA compliant especially if your
center is handling or managing any Medicaid clients. Keeping, storing, accessing, moving, sharing
reporting, logging and any other manipulation of PII (personally identifiable information) needs to be
taken seriously. For example, if you are considering a new EMR platform one of the critical
requirements you want to think about is “who owns your data?” Is it you or your software provider? It
better be you because if your EMR provider goes under good luck in getting back your data, you might
be waiting a long time.
If for some unforeseen reason your EMR provider goes out of business or has a data fail you will want to
be able to safely port the data to your new provider without serious downtime. This brings us to the
consideration of how current is your backed-up data? Is your data on a server somewhere in a
basement in New Jersey or is it in the cloud and easily accessible? Data integrity is paramount for your
Software Platform Stability – Does it crash?
Too many software providers have a challenge keeping their proprietary software up with 5 9’s. This
can be a huge problem for any business in any environment. Ask how they will remedy the situation and
how many times it did go down over the past year. Ask how long it took them to bring it back up.
Usability and Learning Curve
Since we humans are creatures of habit it is easier to go with “the software” they have used in the past.
The challenge is if the software is not customizeable and does not have intelligence built into it then
how much downtime does that cost the business?
A lot of custom proprietary will naturally have bugs in it. Even Google and Microsoft can from time to
time have bugs in their software. However, the really big companies have the ability to provide patches
in almost real time. Some of the biggest issues are security software bugs.
Pricing – Pricing that is simple and not complex and easy to understand and no
As far as pricing goes how are you being charged for the software? By the number of invoices you send
out? The monetary value of the invoices? Are you being penalized by your success? Or are you paying
by user or paying by seat? Will the software scale with your business? Is there a large set up fee? Why
is the entry level so high? Because it costs the developer a lot of money to support the software.
With any business environment many users are operating remotely and having the ability ot access the
software from an iPad or a cell phone is absolutely critical. What does the mobile interface look like? Is
the mobile interface user friendly?
Integration – EHR, Revenue Lifecycle Management, Billing, Labs
Integration is critical. All of your systems must talk with each other through an API (application
programing interface). Some of the systems you will want to interface with are call tracking, CRM
(Salesforce) revenue life cycle management, billing systems, drug testing labs, eprescriptions and many
What kind of customer service are you providing? Is it 9-5 or is it 24/7? Are there long wait times for
the clients on the phone? Do you provide email and chat support? Do you have forums and help
sections where the clients can get support in a self-serve type of environment?
Costs – Features and Functionality without breaking the bank
How are you being billed for the software? Is it easy to understand? Or are you getting a big surprise
invoice at the end of every month?
Measuring Addiction Treatment Outcomes
Last but not least “outcomes” need to be recognized on an ongoing basis during treatment. It is also
helpful to measure outcomes after the patients have become alumni. This is hard to measure and hard
to quantify and harder to validate because you have to take peoples words for it.