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What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and How is it Used in Behavioral Health?

Behavioral health and addiction treatment providers know that different therapies help different conditions and populations. The BestNotes blog has been looking at some common therapy approaches used a behavioral health or addiction treatment practice.

What is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)?

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of psychotherapy, or “talk therapy,” that focuses on how a patient’s thought patterns have influenced their behavior and choices.

The American Psychological Association notes that CBT has three basic principles:

1) That many behavioral health problems “are based, in part, on faulty or unhelpful ways of thinking.”
2) These problems also are partly based “on learned patterns of unhelpful behavior.”
3) Patients with behavioral health problems “can learn better ways of coping with them, thereby relieving their symptoms and becoming more effective in their lives.”

CBT can be used in both individual and group sessions. The frequency can vary, but most CBT sessions are conducted on a short-term basis, usually in 5-20 sessions on a once-weekly basis.

During CBT sessions, the therapist gathers information about the patient’s behaviors, thought patterns, health history, and specific concerns. Together, the therapist and patient collaborate to determine the patient’s goals and the best strategies for achieving those goals.

Like other forms of psychotherapy, CBT encourages the patient to talk about their thoughts and feelings, the difficulties they are currently facing, and how to improve their health and lives. The therapist may assign “homework” between sessions, such as journaling about their feelings, confronting certain fears, or communicating with a loved one in a new way.

Part of CBT involves the patient adopting new ways of talking to themselves, interpreting a situation, and improving the way they respond to challenges. Patients learn to recognize inaccurate or unhealthy thought patterns that lead to negative and undesirable behaviors or feelings. CBT offers more accurate, productive thinking patterns that can lead to more positive choices and behaviors.

What is CBT used for?

CBT can be used for a variety of behavioral and mental health issues. Research has shown that CBT can help lessen or resolve problems that include:

Depression and anxiety disorders
Substance abuse and addiction
Relationship problems
Bipolar disorder
PTSD
Schizophrenia
Grief and loss
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Eating disorders
Fears and phobias
Sleep disorders
Coping with physical disorders and limitations

Does CBT really work?

Studies have repeatedly found that CBT can effectively reduce symptoms of many behavioral health disorders or prevent relapses. Because of this, CBT has become the gold standard of psychotherapy.

One meta-review found that CBT helped with bulimia, aggression, and anxiety disorders
CBT is appropriate for all age groups
No currently available psychiatric approach has surpassed CBT in effectiveness
Because it is evidence-based, CBT can be customized to individuals and in response to new research

Improve the way you deliver CBT and other therapies to your patients

Treatment and management techniques for behavioral health conditions can be complicated. Whether your patients receive CBT or other types of therapy, the right EHR solution can help you and your patients set and achieve goals.

BestNotes EHR software was designed with you, your practice, and your clients in mind. Track patient progress, coordinate care with other specialists, and create all the documents you need with one optimal solution. Contact us today to learn more or request a live demo.

date:  Sep 16, 2019
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What is Artificial Intelligence, and How Is It Used in Healthcare?

Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of several technologies that has been gaining more attention and greater use in recent years. If you’re a behavioral health or addiction treatment provider, you may have heard a little about AI, but wondered whether it matters to your practice.

Let’s take a general look at what AI is, and how it is becoming valuable in healthcare.

What is Artificial Intelligence (AI)?

Generally AI (sometimes called machine intelligence or machine learning) is a computer science term for the form of “intelligence” that machines or computers may demonstrate, rather than the natural intelligence that a person demonstrates. Nowadays, the term AI usually refers to the ability of computers and software to imitate “intelligent” functions that are traditionally human. This includes learning and problem solving.

AI usually involves the use of complex software and algorithms (sets of instructions that solve problems or perform calculations) to mimic human cognition. In the medical and healthcare fields, AI is usually used to analyze complicated data and reach conclusions without a human’s direct input.

How is AI applied in healthcare?

In healthcare, AI technology can use learning algorithms to gain and process information and provide well-defined conclusions. This is primarily useful for analyzing the relationships between treatments (or preventions) and patient outcomes.

AI technology and machine learning in healthcare are still in the early stages, but show promise for many applications. Healthcare providers and technology can use AI for:

Collecting and analyzing patient data to create a more accurate diagnosis
More precisely interpreting imaging or lab results
Providing virtual nursing assistants that remind patients to take medications, or help answer medical questions
Collecting, sharing, and interpreting data in wearable devices
Providing remote services and diagnoses via telemedicine
Using electronic health records (EHRs) more efficiently and helping with administrative workflow
Expanding care to underserved areas and developing nations

Healthcare AI is often combined with other technologies for optimal outcomes, such as surgical robotics, telemedicine software, or EHR software.

AI proponents predict that it will help decrease medical costs in many ways, including more accurate diagnoses, predicting more effective treatment plans, preventing diseases, and encouraging patient knowledge of their conditions.

While there are concerns that AI devices will replace many healthcare workers, advocates argue that, rather than replace healthcare workers, AI will give them more time and opportunities for in-person patient care and interactions. This could, in fact, help reduce provider burnout.

According to Forbes, total investment in healthcare AI could reach $6.6 billion by 2021, and may lead to $150 billion in annual savings by 2026. It appears that AI is not a passing trend, but will become an integral part of modern healthcare.

In future blog posts, we will talk about how AI can be used more specifically.

Stay up-to-date with your behavioral health EHR

BestNotes EHR and CRM solutions were designed with the behavioral health and addiction treatment provider in mind. BestNotes’ many features offer peace of mind for both providers and patients, allowing you to provide better care and streamline your office operations. Contact us today to learn more or schedule a free demo.

date:  Sep 05, 2019
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Upcoming State Electronic Prescribing Mandate Deadlines

Over the past year, electronic prescribing for controlled substances (EPCS) has gained more attention for its potential use in curbing opioid use and overdose. Many states have already implemented their own EPCS mandates, usually designed to accompany state-wide prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs).

As of August 2019, nine states have EPCS deadlines approaching in the coming months. Here’s what you need to know.

Arizona

Arizona will begin to enforce an EPCS requirement on January 1, 2020. This mandate is paired with the state’s Controlled Substances Prescription Monitoring Program, and integration will be available September 1, 2019.

Under the 2018 Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act, a medical practitioner or a pharmacist must review the past 12 months of a patient’s PDMP record before prescribing or dispensing a schedule II controlled substance.

Florida

Florida will uniformly enforce an EPCS requirement on January 1, 2021. However, the EPCS mandate is already taking effect as prescribers’ licenses are renewed.

This mandate is paired with the Florida Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, or E-FORCSE® (Electronic-Florida Online Reporting of Controlled Substance Evaluation Program).

Iowa

Like Arizona, Iowa will begin to enforce an EPCS requirement on January 1, 2020. This mandate is paired with the state’s PDMP, known as IOWA PMP AWARxE.

Massachusetts

Massachusetts will begin to enforce an EPCS requirement on January 1, 2020. This accompanies the state’s PDMP, called the Massachusetts Prescription Awareness Tool (MassPAT).

The state requires prescribers to use MassPAT before issuing a prescription for any benzodiazepine or schedule II or III narcotic drug.

North Carolina

North Carolina will begin to enforce an EPCS requirement on January 1, 2020. This will accompany the state’s PDMP tool, known as the NC Controlled Substances Reporting System (CSRS).

Oklahoma

Oklahoma will begin to enforce an EPCS requirement on January 1, 2020. This accompanies the state’s PDMP, the Oklahoma Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP).

Oklahoma state law requires all dispensers of Schedule II, III, IV, and V controlled substances to submit prescription dispensing information to the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control through the PMP within 24 hours of dispensing a scheduled narcotic.

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania will begin to enforce an EPCS requirement on October 24, 2019. The Pennsylvania PDMP is integrating with the electronic health records (EHRs) and pharmacy management systems of all eligible healthcare entities in the state.

Rhode Island

Rhode Island will begin to enforce an EPCS requirement on January 1, 2020. This mandate will work with the existing Rhode Island PDMP.

Tennessee

Tennessee will begin to enforce an EPCS requirement on January 1, 2020. This mandate will work with the existing Tennessee PDMP, known as the Controlled Substance Monitoring Database Program.

Prepare for state EPCS requirements

Is your state affected by these changes? Make sure your EHR system allows for e-prescribing so you can continue to offer appropriate, high-quality care for your behavioral health patients while remaining compliant with state, federal, and private mandates.

BestNotes EHR and CRM solutions are tailored specifically for mental health and addiction treatment providers, with e-prescribing and other medication management options. Contact us today to learn more.

date:  Aug 28, 2019
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What is Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and How is it Used in Behavioral Health?

As a behavioral health or addiction treatment provider, you know that not all therapy approaches are created equal. Some types of therapy are more effective for certain behavioral health needs or patient populations. Individual providers may have more experience and training in some treatment approaches compared to others.

Here on the BestNotes blog, we’ll be taking a look at some different therapy approaches and how they are best incorporated into a behavioral health or addiction treatment practice.

What is dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)?

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a type of cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy that helps an individual build beneficial life skills through both individual and group therapy. The origins of DBT can be traced back to the 1980s, when psychologist Marsha M. Linehan began to develop this approach.

To be most effective, DBT combines several components:

Identifying and building on an individual’s unique strengths to help build self-esteem
Learning to identify irrational or harmful thoughts and beliefs
Collaboration with clinicians and support group members to practice skills such as self-soothing methods during times of emotional upset

What is DBT used for?

DBT was originally intended to treat borderline personality disorder. Researchers also indicates that DBT can help others who struggle to control their emotions and manage high-risk behaviors. Mental health issues that may benefit from DBT include:

Depression and anxiety
Binge eating and bulimia
Bipolar disorder
Post-traumatic-stress disorder
Substance abuse and addiction
Suicidal behavior
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

How does DBT work?

Techniques used in DBT include:

Practicing mindfulness and focusing on the present moment
Increased tolerance and acceptance of negative emotions
Better emotional regulation
More effective, respectful communication in relationships

These DBT techniques can help a person learn to better manage strong emotions, relationship difficulties, and other changes in life. Experts recommend that DBT include an individual therapy component and a group therapy component.

One-on-one therapy can help a patient identify dysfunctional behaviors, thoughts, and feelings. A clinician guides DBT participants to modify their thought patterns and engage in more effective behaviors.

In group therapy, DBT participants receive peer support and further build their new skills. Participants may receive homework assignments to help them practice their skills until the next session.

Does DBT work?

Numerous studies have found several benefits associated with the use of DBT. This includes reduced self-harm behavior and changes in brain function, improved emotional regulation, and reduced substance use.

Like most other forms of behavioral health treatment, adherence can be an issue that may affect the results of DBT. When participants continue to engage in DBT, however, symptoms can improve.

Make DBT and other therapies more effective for your patients

Treatment and management techniques for behavioral health conditions can be complicated. Whether you provide DBT or another form of therapy, the right EHR solution can help you and your clients set and achieve goals.

BestNotes EHR software was designed with you, your practice, and your clients in mind. Track patient progress, coordinate care with other specialists, and create all the documents you need with one optimal solution. Contact us today to learn more or request a live demo.

date:  Aug 23, 2019
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What is FHIR and How Does it Affect Your EHR?

For behavioral health providers that use electronic health records (EHRs), interoperability is becoming increasingly important.

Many behavioral health and addiction treatment patients receive care from different providers. These providers may all use different EHR systems, and yet must all access and understand the patient’s health data. Data also need to be structured and standardized to be useful to machine-based processing.

The Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resource (FHIR, pronounced “fire,”) is a standard for exchanging electronic healthcare information. It is becoming a popular option to improve interoperability.

EHR standards may seem complicated and intimidating, but providers that exchange data with each other can benefit from learning about FHIR basics.

What is FHIR?

HL7 International, a not-for-profit standards developing organization, developed FHIR to address the challenges of sharing complex healthcare data. HL7 designed FHIR to be used on its own, but may also be paired with existing standards.

FHIR is designed to allow data access in a way similar to how we use URLs to access web pages. Consider how each individual web page has a specific URL. Anyone who uses a standard browser (such as FireFox or Chrome) and a standard operating system (such as Windows or Mac) can access that same page and perform the same tasks with that URL.

FHIR is built to do something similar with healthcare data. Different health data elements, or “resources,” are tagged with a unique identifier, similar to a URL. The FHIR standard is designed to help developers build standardized applications that act as a “browser” that allows access to data no matter what EHR “operating system” is used.

How is FHIR used?

“FHIR resources can be used to build documents that represent a composition: a coherent set of information that is a statement of healthcare information, including clinical observations and services,” HL7 explains. “Documents built in this fashion may be exchanged between systems and persisted in document storage and management systems.”

FHIR is designed specifically for web-based use. FHIR-based apps can be used with any FHIR-capable EHR. This means it can be applied to mobile apps, cloud communications, and EHR-based data sharing. Currently, most usage of FHIR-based apps involves expanding EHR functionality and allowing patients to download and use their own health records.

According to HIMSS, several projects are examining the use of FHIR to improve interoperability:

The Argonaut Project, between HL7 and several healthcare organizations and vendors, aims to develop protocols and tools to expand health information sharing using FHIR
The Health Services Platform Consortium is focused on building an open platform based on FHIR to allow rapid development of healthcare applications

FHIR is not yet in full use, but it shows promise in helping EHR vendors and healthcare providers achieve better interoperability and care coordination. Because of this, behavioral health providers looking to adopt a new EHR system should make sure the solution you choose incorporates FHIR for current or future use.

Use an EHR that accommodates current standards

Behavioral health providers can help their practice achieve greater interoperability by choosing an EHR system that follows appropriate standards.
BestNotes offers EHR and CRM solutions tailored specifically for behavioral health and addiction treatment providers, with features that help you collaborate and exchange information with those who need it. Contact us today to learn more or schedule a demo!

date:  Aug 12, 2019
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