Posted By Arnav Mathur On September 30, 2021
The Golden Thread is a form of documentation that supports a meaningful client narrative throughout the journey of their care. EHR systems are used in conjunction with this form of documentation and offer a method of allowing a client’s data to be recorded and viewed in such a manner that very little time is used, and more time can be spent focusing on providing direct care for the client of a behavioral health agency. There are three steps in utilizing the Golden Thread, and they are diagnostic assessments, treatment plans, and progress notes. A complete EHR solution being used to support weaving the Golden Thread allows for a clinic to increase patient care while helping to meet standards for reimbursement and compliance. Most EHRs stop incorporating data in the process once the progress notes have been created; however, there is great value in pulling relevant data into billing and reporting.
An example of the Golden Thread being used is helping a patient receiving help in order to step away from an addiction and work towards sobriety. The process of using the Golden Thread will start with assessing the issue (addiction), and all the possible effects it’s having on the patient (diagnostic assessment). Next, it will be used to help the patient and the clinician come up with an appropriate solution (treatment plan), and determine how long the period of time for recovery should be. Lastly, the clinician will record the patient’s progress to see if the treatment they are going through is actually working, or if any changes need to be assessed to ensure recovery (progress notes).
An EHR aids the Golden thread documentation by recording the journey through reviewing or looking over assessment scores (e.g PHQ-9 & Beck’s Depression) for diagnosing the issue. Using an EHR for the Golden Thread avoids the hassle of having to manually copy and paste data. For treatment plans, certain modules are used to pull statistics, current problems, and resolutions to create a plan based on specifics and evidence. For progress notes, the Golden Thread automatically shows what the current goals are and makes them easier to look over to see if they are in compliance with the treatment plan.
In a great behavioral health EHR, using The Golden Thread goes a bit further and includes billing & reporting as the final step. This is to ensure that the billing process is efficient, and that selected patient data is pulled into billing and reporting automatically. This helps to make sure that there is no confusion where payment and remittance is regarded, and that everything has a “receipt”. Without this, there could be inefficiency when trying to meet eligibility standards requiring reporting on the documentation of services received by patients. By incorporating billing with reporting, an EHR supporting the Golden Thread can help meet some of behavioral health’s top challenges.