Posted By Arnav Mathur On October 12, 2021

IM+Cans: A Paradigm Shift in Behavioral Health Clinical Tools

IM+CANS Clinical Tool

IM+Cans (Illinois Medicaid Comprehensive Assessment of Needs and Strengths) is a tool that was developed in Illinois by Dr. John S. Lyons. There are two aspects to this tool. The Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) and the Adult Needs and Strengths Assessment (ANSA) are multi-purpose tools developed to support care planning and level of care decision-making, to initiate quality care and improvement.  These tools were created to help patients who need treatment for mental health. The combined assessment and treatment plan IM+Cans process was created to be more efficient and to save time so that clinicians could communicate to patients everything they need to know about their care plan as quickly as possible. IM+Cans contains several important factors when assessing a patient, such as: risk behaviors, trauma exposure, behavioral/ emotional needs, substance use, cultural factors, and physical health risk.

The IM+Cans tool can also help identify the patient’s strengths, which can be what a treatment plan could be based on. By working with the patient and whoever else is involved, a treatment plan can be created that can create stronger engagement (between the care provider and the patient) by utilizing the findings of the patient’s strengths and needs. Not every strength of the patient can be found using IM+Cans. Those must be identified through a thorough examination of the patient and noted by the care provider. More can be found out through the patient directly informing their specific care provider. 

Patagonia Health is joining the transition of behavioral health assessment and treatment plans into one process. By utilizing a fully integrated assessment and treatment plan in our Electronic Health Record (EHR) system, we anticipate enhancing the clinical process. Typically, a patient will go through several processes to get treatment, but with IM+Cans, it is molded into one efficient, faster process. The process is becoming more popular nationally, and other states are starting to use IM+Cans in their own way. Behavioral Health is seeing a movement towards combining assessment and treatment, and we anticipate meeting that change through our software supporting this paradigm shift in clinical reporting. When you shop for an EHR vendor for your behavioral health needs, be sure to evaluate vendors that have functionality specifically for Behavioral Health and tools such as IM+Cans that are staying current with the current trends in your field.

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About Arnav Mathur

Arnav Mathur is a Marketing Associate at Patagonia Health. He conducts market research regarding electronic health records and reaches out to clinics across the United States to see what Patagonia Health can provide for them. He also writes content for public and behavioral health while combining his business skill sets and customer focus to help push healthcare IT forward.