12 Behavioral Health Facilities Tap Cerner EHR for Interoperability

Twelve behavioral health facilities in Virginia will implement Cerner EHR during 2021.

Twelve behavioral health facilities within the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS) group will launch Cerner EHR to provide its clinicians with up-to-date patient information on a single platform to boost interoperability between the facilities.

“As a trusted industry leader in technology, data exchange and interoperability, Cerner can deliver the efficiency, reliability and security our clients, including DBHDS, need to improve health outcomes,” John Dreager, PhD, vice president of client relationships at Cerner, said in a statement.

“Cerner's technology is designed to help improve continuity of patient care and a seamless exchange of health data between doctors and patients. We are proud to help Virginia address the mental and behavioral health needs of their residents.”

Behavioral health issues are an underfunded and overlooked area of the healthcare industry, forcing the need for more comprehensive EHR platforms.

A recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll showed that 45 percent of adults have had their mental health negatively impacted due to the uncertainty of the coronavirus. Cerner said the pandemic has magnified the need for health IT to help treat mental health.

With the EHR implementation, DBHDS faculty and patients can utilize Cerner’s patient portal.

Patients will be able to direct message providers, schedule appointments, and gain full patient data access. Providers and patients will also be able to utilize telehealth capabilities through the online portal for remote therapy sessions.

DBHDS will also leverage the vendor’s revenue cycle management platform to improve its financial operations and link patient clinical and financial data into a single EHR record.

“A single EHR across all locations is a key step towards standardizing care delivery” said Alison Land, commissioner of DBHDS. “As the demand for community mental health and substance abuse resources continues to rise in the wake of the pandemic, there’s no better time to upgrade technology systemwide. For us this marks a new era of automation, bringing increased care coordination across our network and using technology to help improve care, treatment and communication with our clients.”

Cerner has implemented its EHR system at these eight DBHDS facilities: Western State Hospital, Southwestern Virginia Mental Health Institute, Southern Virginia Mental Health Institute, Commonwealth Center for Children & Adolescents, Southeastern Virginia Training Center, Eastern State Hospital, Northern Virginia Mental Health Institute, and Catawba Hospital.

The vendor said the remaining four DBHDS facilities plan to deploy the vendor’s EHR system in spring 2021.

The majority of customers using a behavioral health EHR vendor are highly dissatisfied with the overall product. However, according to a KLAS report, Cerner’s Millennium Behavioral Health stood out as an outlier.

All seven EHR vendors in the survey scored below the average software type of 81 out of 100. In fact, three behavioral health EHR vendors scored in the 70s, one scored a 63.6, two scored in the 50s, and Cerner’s Community Behavioral Health scored an 80.5 percent.

While some vendors improved their products, others had significant drops in satisfaction, losing upwards of 16 percent or more percentage points since the 2018 survey.

Even though support was a common complaint for respondents across all vendors, Cerner customers said that wasn’t the case with their tools. Customers reported timely and responsive support from the vendor.

Cerner users were also pleased with the product’s integration and interoperability efforts, and they also were satisfied with the vendor’s software updates, partnering abilities, and responsiveness to the customer.

“Three of the five interviewed organizations who have deployed Millennium within the last two years report a poor implementation experience, and some customers had to redo the Cerner training or provide their own because Cerner’s was inadequate or ineffective,” wrote the report authors.

“Additionally, over half of respondents say the product lacks some behavioral health–specific workflows and functionality, especially for the outpatient setting,” they continued.

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