When addiction treatment professionals are able to follow a client from intake through different services and treatments to an outcome, they are said to be following a “Golden Thread” of information.
This Golden Thread should be able to “pull” relevant client data from one service or stage of treatment to the next. Proper documentation and progress notes are vital to this process.
How does the Golden Thread work in addiction treatment?
Addiction treatment can be a lengthy process that brings together different professionals to guide a client through the process.
Clients may receive different services or enter different programs, such as residential treatment centers, group therapy sessions, and medication-assisted treatment. They will interact with clinicians, therapists, social workers, medical assistants, and others in the process.
All these different addiction treatment services require some form of documentation, whether basic client demographics or complex progress notes.
The Golden Thread weaves all of a client’s relevant clinical information into all their documentation.
The Golden Thread of addiction treatment begins with the intake assessment, including symptoms and a diagnosis.
Once the problem is identified, the Golden Thread then connects to client and provider goals, as well as the creation of a treatment plan with different interventions.
The Golden Thread then pulls together progress notes that list the services provided, how they were appropriate to the addiction treatment plan, and what the outcomes were.
Like an embroidery pattern, the Golden Thread should weave information into client documentation to tell the story of their addiction treatment journey.
Why is the Golden Thread important in addiction treatment?
Among addiction treatment professionals, the Golden Thread is valuable for ensuring compliance, aiding reimbursement, and improving quality of care.
Billing: Maintaining the Golden Thread through client documentation helps ensure correct billing for addiction treatment providers and payers. Information will be correct and thorough regarding a client’s symptoms, diagnosis, and progress notes.
Auditing: Addiction treatment providers will benefit from the Golden Thread in case of an audit by insurers, regulators, and other entities. Auditors can follow client data to get a full picture of intake, symptoms, diagnosis, and how patients are being treated.
Patient care: The Golden Thread requires addiction treatment providers to help clients establish goals and objectives for their addiction treatment. It also calls for providers to create and follow their clients’ progress notes, which helps track them from intake to discharge. Providers can gain better insight into what is or is not effective in a particular patient’s treatment plan.
Best practices: One of the best ways to maintain the Golden Thread is collaborative documentation, a process recommended by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. With collaborative documentation, both clinicians and clients are engaged in documenting assessments, services, and progress notes. This can help addiction treatment professionals work with clients to create a Golden Thread “narrative.”
The right EHR pulls the Golden Thread.
The Golden Thread requires thorough, effective documentation, which makes efficient EHR software highly valuable. Addiction treatment providers require EHR systems that have the reporting capabilities to add and track relevant client information.
Bestnotes EHR has the reporting capabilities necessary to collect data and create progress notes so addiction treatment providers can follow the Golden Thread through each client’s documentation. Contact us today to learn more about our EHR solutions can save you time and effort.