From Paper Charts to an Electronic Record | Camelot Counseling

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH), over 115 people in the United States die after overdosing on opioids every day. Providers, communities, elected officials, vendor partners and healthcare practitioners are all, in some way, collaborating in the fight to raise awareness, address the epidemic, and bring much needed change. For many members of the Foothold Technology community, the opioid crisis is something they confront every day.

Since 1971, Camelot Counseling, located in Staten Island in New York City, has been working with individuals and families to address the adverse effects of alcoholism and substance use. Chief Executive Officer Luke Nasta, a Staten Island native, has helped lead the organization for over four decades. Mr. Nasta has used his own personal struggle with addiction and his journey of recovery to help inform Camelot’s programs, including operating the only residential chemical dependency treatment program in Staten Island.

Over the years, Camelot has expanded its programs, streamlined operations and found more effective ways to support staff and the community it serves. One transformative change was the decision by leadership to move from a paper-based documentation process to an electronic one. The implementation of this shift and crucial enhancement to the agency’s workflow was led by Logan Lewis, the agency’s Director of Compliance and Quality Assurance.

The Decision to Go Paperless – Shifting to An Electronic Health Record (EHR)

Switching to an electronic record isn’t just a change, it’s an organizational transformation, and it can revolutionize the way agencies operate while enhancing service delivery within the communities those agencies support. “Adapting to the ever-changing environment has been a priority for us as an agency, which was why we came to the decision to go paperless,” explains Mr. Lewis. “We realized that going paperless would save us time, keep us organized, and in turn allow us to help more people.”

As with any type of organizational shift, going paperless can be intimidating. As part of the process at Camelot, Mr. Lewis spent time meeting with all levels of staff within the agency to assess workflows and address concerns. “Our counselors expressed some concern that clients might feel that they weren’t the primary focus during client meetings if a computer was involved, so we came up with a change in our workflow where clients summarize their session takeaways and the client and counselor type up the next steps together.” This new approach made both counselors and clients feel at ease, leading to more holistic service delivery while maintaining a person-centered approach. In fact, now that the agency is documenting in a paperless fashion, counselors are thrilled that the hours previously spent on updating paper charts within multiple binders, is now time spent working directly with individuals to address recovery goals and provide support.

Implementation Leads to A Perfect Audit Score

All told, it took about one year to standardize all forms, develop and launch new workflows, and train staff before the agency completely phased out paper charts. “The upfront work takes commitment and top level support, but it was well worth the effort,” says Mr. Lewis. “Shortly after implementing AWARDS across all our programs, we received a perfect score on an audit!” Camelot has fully embraced using data and metrics as the backbone for its decision-making. By using AWARDS across all its programs, this process has become easier and has helped improve the quality of support for clients.

Healthy Agencies Create Healthy Communities

At a recent conference in New York, Luke Nasta and Logan Lewis joined David Bucciferro, Senior Advisor at Foothold Technology, to share ideas about how a complete shift to electronic record-keeping is allowing agencies, like Camelot, to use data more efficiently, save valuable time, and remain focused on their missions, including collaborating with others to combat the opioid epidemic. David provided an overview of how data, collaboration, and Health IT — like EHRs — are all important components of strengthening agencies and communities. The Camelot team shared practical applications and examples of how the agency is finding new success, in part, built off decision-making tied directly to the agency’s data. We thank Camelot for joining us and for their important work.