Posted By Dayna Riddle On June 12, 2024

Tools for Mobile Integrated Health Services in Behavioral Health

Mobile Integrated Health started in the late 1990s with providers offering care over the telephone. Its purpose was simple: to provide care to patients in their homes, in the community via mobile clinics, or through mobile resources like cell phones. Today, tools for Mobile Integrated Health services incorporate more advanced technology via smartphones, videoconferencing, and other features. These allow behavioral health specialists to partner with outside organizations, such as EMS, police, and local hospital systems to provide services remotely. This has led to patient-centered treatment and collaborative behavioral health efforts, addressing whole-person care

Although some EHR vendors have a stand-alone mobile app, there is no need for one if your EHR system is web-based, meaning your providers and clients can access mobile care wherever there is internet access. Fully integrated EHR solutions with mobile-friendly functionalities are key to implementing an MIH program in your organization. Below are a few features to look for when choosing an EHR to support mobile integrated health services at your behavioral health organization. 

Tools for Mobile Integrated Health Services

Integrated Telehealth

Telehealth has emerged as a significant aspect of healthcare during the pandemic and continues to account for many client visits. Telehealth provides remote client care, which is convenient for clients and providers and addresses social determinants of health for those who cannot physically attend visits. This also benefits those who provide care in rural areas, ensuring access to services regardless of location. 

Social determinants of health aided with Telehealth:

  • Economic Opportunity
  • Transportation 
  • Neighborhood environment

Telehealth relies on technology for HIPAA-compliant visits, such as videoconferencing, data sharing, and clinical documentation. Look for an EHR solution that provides telehealth directly embedded in its system. This ensures a seamless transfer of clinical documentation while protecting client privacy with additional security measures. An embedded telehealth feature inside your EHR can also be less costly than a separate telehealth application. 

Patient Portal

Having a patient portal is essential for the success of Mobile Integrated Health. The patient portal is a tool for Mobile Integrated Health Services that allows your clients to securely access their health information and actively participate in their care at any time and anywhere they have internet access. 

Clients can virtually participate in their care via a patient portal through: 

  • Request, confirm, cancel, or reschedule appointments
  • eCheck-in for appointments ahead of time
  • Update patient demographic and insurance information
  • Send HIPAA-compliant messages to their healthcare provider
  • View medications and test results
  • Sign consent forms for medical records access

The patient portal also increases client control over their care, by keeping up with their medications list, ensuring their medical history is accurate, and ability to see their treatment plan with notes from their provider. Clients do not need to store their own paperwork or take notes during appointments, as their providers can electronically message them educational resources or other information from their sessions via the patient portal. 

Tools for Mobile Integrated Health Services

Golden Thread Documentation 

An EHR created for behavioral health organizations will reduce strain on your staff, from clinicians to billers. The Golden Thread is a method of behavioral health documentation that weaves together your client’s clinical information, diagnostic assessment, treatment plan, and progress notes, and links it all to your billing in your EHR. It aligns all aspects of your practice and increases reimbursements with faster turnaround on claims and decreasing denials. 

In an MIH setting, some EHRs offer progress note documentation and integration with telehealth. Some solutions also offer e-prescribing of controlled substances/medication management so providers can send medication requests directly from the EHR. These solutions understand the need to seamlessly connect your workflow through the golden thread, especially when offering mobile health services. They allow you to focus more on treating your clients and less time on paperwork.

Referral Orders

An integrated EHR solution with features like referral orders allows providers to safely send client data to outside organizations so clients can get additional treatment if needed. In addition, some EHR solutions can connect to HIEs, immunization registries, and labs, allowing providers to pull up client records from other secure health organizations to see a full picture of their clients’ health. By connecting to an HIE, your behavioral health organization can flag social determinants of health to refer clients to the help they need, like:

  • Housing Services or shelters
  • Food pantries or other food assistance programs
  • Rehabilitation centers
  • Specialists 
  • WIC, Family Planning, or other family programs at a local public health department

Appointment Reminders

Many clients who suffer from substance use disorder or other mental health challenges take advantage of mobile care options, which continue their care outside of the office setting. To help remind them of upcoming appointments, a mobile-friendly EHR solution can send automated appointment reminders (via text, email, or phone call). Providers can also send follow-up messages after appointments to their clients through an EHR to check how their treatment plan is going. This reduces the strain on providers or practice administrators to do this manually, if at all and helps clients stay on track. 

Tools for Mobile Integrated Health Services

How to incorporate tools for Mobile Integrated Health services at your organization

  1. Knowledge of your community: Figure out the weak spots in your community and how mobile health would benefit treatment options. 
  2. Internal team: Keeping staff is a challenge in healthcare. Ensure you have a full team that can handle learning how to integrate new services into your organization.
  3. A reliable technology partner: A trustworthy integrated EHR vendor will have specialized knowledge and experience in implementing an MIH program for your unique type of organization. 
  4. A mobile-friendly tool with cybersecurity features: A HIPAA-compliant tool that is up to date on the latest security certifications will keep your clients’ data safe. Your vendor should provide contingency plans in case of cyberattacks and frequently backup client data. 
  5. Funding: Offering new services through MIH could be a significant investment for your organization. Look into grant/funding opportunities in your area. Some may be for integrated health, mobile health, substance abuse integration, or other areas. 

See here to learn more about the benefits of Mobile Integrated Health services for behavioral health organizations.

About Patagonia Health, Inc.

Since 2009, Patagonia Health has been a foundation for those who provide essential care to their communities. Our integrated EHR, Practice Management, and Billing solutions are designed for public and behavioral health organizations nationwide. We are dedicated to award-winning customer service from implementation to ongoing training and support. We develop authentic partnerships with our customers to meet their ever-changing needs.

About Dayna Riddle

Dayna is a marketing associate at Patagonia Health, an Electronic Health Records (EHR) software company serving Public and Behavioral Health departments across the United States. She creates content, manages social media, and assists in marketing strategies, while supporting her efforts with a passion for health.