June 5, 2015

Expert Interview: The Future of Mental and Behavioral Healthcare

Tags: Podcast

Kristin Walker, founder of everythingEHR and host of the Mental Health News Radio, was a recent guest on the TechnologyAdvice Expert Interview Series to share her insight on mental and behavioral health technology. Kristin sits down to share her thoughts on everything from mobile technology within EHR software, why there are low adoption rates, meaningful use, and more.

Here are a few of the highlights from our conversation:

TA: How has meaningful use impacted vendors and patients?

Walker: I see the benefit of meaningful use incentivizing EHR companies and practices to jump into accepting technology; however, the biggest thing that meaningful use did was create this big marketing boon for EHR vendors. What was interesting is what you heard out there in the marketplace about HIPAA, meaningful use, security and risk, anything to do with healthcare, you were hearing it from the vendors.

They were becoming the experts at everything related to healthcare technology because meaningful use had such forward momentum and buzz around it. The vendors really stumbled on that. It’s been interesting to weave through the vendors’ pitches around this and their “expertise” around this. I went out and found an actual behavioral health HIPAA expert that owns an IT company and is a mental health counselor, that’s who I want to talk to about HIPAA, not a vendor or “in house expert.” Meaningful use was great for marketing, of course that wasn’t the intention, but that’s certainly a big big part of it.

TechnologyAdvice: How much patient interaction is there in EHR systems?

Walker: There are some out there that have it and do a great job with it. That is a growing trend to have more interaction with patients. Not just sitting in the office using a tablet in the office as an example. They’re still called kiosks but it’s really just a tablet. Having patients at home and being able to track outcome measures on a daily basis where you’re on your phone and you get a pop-up saying “how’s your anxiety level today” and you’re able to respond.

We have constant data that can be aggregated later to test results and give you a review across a client population or patient population to see what’s going on for everyone that is this race in this county, etc. I’m seeing the good ones out there that are taking that seriously again those are typically browser based products. I am seeing a trend in products that are really dying on the vine and don’t want to let go and are trying to build those pieces into their software and aren’t doing a good job of it.

I’m seeing a little disservice to the patients with some of these older legacy technologies trying to capture that instead of just rebuilding their platform. Maybe in a browser based solution that’s much easier to have an app on a phone to tackle that kind of patient interaction.

TA: Why is it often so difficult for practices to adopt software?

Walker: A lot of it is around vendors sadly that make promises that they just are not prepared to keep. That’s why we’re so stringent in our criteria for whether or not we’ll support a vendor. They’ve often had a bad experience with another vendor. They take that bad experience and make the implementation much more difficult than it needs to be with a vendor that actually is a good vendor.

Because they’re angry from what they experience before. People tend to be much more educated about technology these days. I still see a little bit of that resistance and fear around adopting anything that’s related to technology especially the fear of the big database in the sky that the government is tapped into. There’s still a little out there. Mostly it’s on the side of having been around the bend with EHRs. They’ve used some legacy systems that aren’t that old but are designed like legacy systems and they just had such a bad experience they’re really reticent to just adopt something with a positive attitude.

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Listen to the entire show above in order to hear our full conversation, or download the show to listen later. You can subscribe to the TA Expert Interview Series via Soundcloud, in order to get alerts about new episodes.

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