Think Tank | Building Lifelong Relationships with EHRs and Other Behavioral Health Vendors

Reflections from NatCon15

Another year and another successful National Council (NatCon) conference. This year’s conference was notable for the profusion of new software tools and technologies and for Colin Powell’s speech about which almost everyone raved. NatCon is the largest single behavioral health conference in the country and it never fails to impress.

This year I was able to lead a session on “Promising Practices for Adopting an Electronic Health Record (EHR).” The session involved four providers discussing their experiences while I tried to tie all their ideas together. Fortuitously, the consistency of the providers’ advice regarding implementing EHRs was remarkable and, I think, useful for anyone regardless of where they are in the implementation process.

Most importantly, all the providers suggested that even calling the process implementation was a bit of a misnomer. Because of staff turnover, regulatory changes, new technologies and all the other changes that can’t be predicted, implementation was really better thought of as just the beginning of a “lifelong” relationship with a vendor, EHR or other, during which you continually use and improve your use of, that vendor’s software. This is an idea we always try to communicate here at Foothold Technology. “Go Live” is nothing more than the date on which some program or set of programs begin using AWARDS for its primary data tracking needs. Other programs, services, changes in your regulatory environment – all ensure that there will be many “go lives” throughout the course of our relationship. It is a sentiment worth repeating and I was glad to see providers come to it on their own.

We also had another terrific client appreciation dinner at a local restaurant where I got the chance to get to know some of our clients on a more human level. That is always appreciated. It is important to be reminded that no matter the chaos of our day to day lives, we are, all of us in the world of behavioral health, trying to make the world a slightly better place than we found it.

If you haven’t been to NatCon I strongly recommend you check it out at least once. And if you do, be sure to let us know so we can meet you there!