Agencies in the child and family services industry have many unique challenges when it comes to achieving success for both the individuals that they serve and for their organization from a business perspective. There are many guidelines and regulations to consider when it comes to providing clients with the care they need and it can be challenging to manage everything successfully. Child and family service agencies, who adopt the right type of technology, such as an electronic health record (EHR) solution, with the right partner, can reduce their burden of overseeing the complexities of the process.

As a provider, there are plenty EHR solutions to consider, depending upon whatever your organization’s specialty of care may be. When considering and choosing the right EHR solution for your child and family services agency, it’s very important to consider how the EHR meets the unique needs of the services you provide and how it can best support you and your unique workflows.

When considering and choosing the right EHR partner and solution, start by asking, “Does the EHR…”

Manage referrals effectively? When referrals occur, whether internal or external, a lot of information travels to and from providers. If referring information is delayed or missing, it can cause a disruption in service delivery. An effective EHR should have the capability to quickly and securely send, receive and process an individual’s information, the ability to populate vital information and assist with determining eligibility status in real-time.

Ease the intake and admission process? There can be multiple steps to complete when admitting an individual to receive services, many of them time-consuming. Make sure your EHR can support customized, role-specific workflows to meet the needs of your intake process within a timely manner.

Aid in providing services? The right EHR should have the capability to help providers determine the right types of services and care to provide to a client, including the ability to track and monitor their progress for the duration of your relationship. With many requirements that need to be satisfied with data, your EHR should also have the ability to provide detailed reporting and analytics to provide the right metrics to prove outcomes.

Produce service claims efficiently? Various complex funding or payment sources exist to cover the costs of services, having an EHR that can manage each type while producing the proper type of claims for services delivered is essential.

Support a mobile workforce? Anyone who has worked with in child and family services know that services aren’t limited to office practices. In fact, many services are provided at home, in the community or at the location of cooperating service providers. Being able to enter data into the EHR remotely and work offline is critical.

Allow for care collaboration? The more accurate and up-to-date the health record is, the more informed a provider’s care decision can be. Often, individuals receiving services from your organization may be receiving additional services from other providers. Making sure that your EHR has the capability to update an individual’s record in real-time so their delivery of care from all areas remains uninterrupted and not diverted due to missing information. Alerts generated by the EHR when a record is updated helps keep clinicians and providers aware of any new information for consideration.

Support value-based care initiatives? Healthcare, in general, is making a shift towards a value-based care approach. For most, it’s not a matter of if, but rather when their organization makes the move. EHRs that have the functionality to support value-based care give service providers insight into the robust collection of data resulting in a full-spectrum view of the client. It needs to have the capability to present providers with the right data about the individual at the right time to allow providers to make the best support decisions possible. By avoiding unnecessary tests, procedures or other delivered services, providers are able to keep overall costs down while reaching desired outcomes.

With ever-changing requirements and regulations within child and family services, it’s important that you find an EHR that’s adaptable, configurable and flexible to help meet your unique needs and more. Find a technology partner who understands the needs of your organization and who is willing to provide you the support you need in the areas where you need it the most, helping you find success for your agency, but most importantly, the people you serve.

Get more valuable information on considering EHR functionality and value-based care in our latest webinar, “Ensuring Sustainability and Improving Outcomes in Child Welfare Through Value-Based Approaches,” led by Netsmart Senior Director, Solution Consulting Andrew Mersman.