Frequently Asked Questions

Following are some basic frequently asked questions about behavioral health and human services electronic health record software. For more detailed information, contact us at


What is an EMR or EHR?

EMR stands for Electronic Medical Record, while EHR stands for Electronic Health Record. At their most basic level, each are ways for storing and communicating health records digitally. Behavioral Health EHRs are records that contain both behavioral health or mental health information and physical health information, such as:

  • Personal and demographic data
  • Assessments
  • Diagnoses
  • Treatment Plans 
  • Progress notes 
  • Medications
  • ePrescriptions
  • eMar (electronic Medication Administration Record)
  • Outcomes
  • Medical information, including
    • Laboratory data
    • Allergies
    • Imaging reports
    • Vital signs
    • Medical History
    • Immunizations
What is Behavioral Health EMR or EHR software?

EMR and EHR software programs are designed to help providers better care for their patients and clients and operate more efficiently by using EMRs and EHRs. Behavioral Health EMR software and Behavioral Health EHR software focus on behavioral health and mental health. Some of these software programs also coordinate with EMR software used primarily by primary care physicians and hospitals to enable coordination between mental and behavioral health and physical health.

What types of Behavioral Health EHR software programs are available?

Behavioral Health EHR software programs are available in many different types. The most basic types are used by single practitioners (therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, etc.) or small mental health practices to serve clients. Many of these software programs also include billing and revenue cycle management functionality to make it more efficient for providers to get reimbursed by insurers and other payers for the mental health services they provide.

Some Behavioral Health EHR software programs focus on or include functionality specific to certain types of treatment, such as substance use disorder and intellectual or developmental disabilities. Some of these programs also include functionality for human services such as foster care and adoption and child and family services.

The largest Behavioral Health EHR programs are enterprise behavioral health platforms. These mental health platforms are sophisticated enough to help medium to large behavioral health providers offer a broader range of behavioral health and mental health services on a larger scale.

What does an enterprise behavioral health EHR platform do?

True enterprise behavioral health EHRs enable providers to manage their entire organization from one single platform. These include clinical care services for inpatient and residential and outpatient and day services. Many support a range of additional services including substance use disorder, intellectual or developmental disabilities, and primary care integration. Enterprise EHRs also include revenue cycle management and practice management functionality, as well as sophisticated analytical and business intelligence capabilities.

What is EHR Usability or User Experience (UX)?

EHR usability or EHR User Experience (EHR UX) is an important component for how effective a Behavioral Health EHR or EMR system is.

One of the disadvantages of electronic health records systems of the earlier generation is they were designed primarily to meet the needs of insurance companies and other payers, regulators, and IT developers. The best EHRs today are designed with the needs of the users in mind: clinicians, administrative staff, billing staff, etc.

Following are the EHR benefits to look for when assessing usability: The EHR should be as intuitive and easy to use as leading consumer software apps. It should make users significantly more efficient at performing their work. The EMR should support users with flags and other reminders to alert them to all requirements—clinical, billing, and administrative—at each step in the treatment process. The functionality should be robust enough to encompass all of the primary services users provide on a single platform. The EHR should be configurable to meet changing behavioral health needs.

What is a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic?

A Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) is a clinic designed to ensure access to coordinated comprehensive behavioral health care. CCBHCs are required to serve anyone who requests care for mental health or substance use, regardless of their ability to pay, place of residence, or age. 

CCBHCs are required to provide a comprehensive array of behavioral health services to help coordinate care across multiple providers. In addition, CCBHCs must provide care coordination for behavioral health care, physical health care, social services, and other systems.

CCBHCs are required to provide nine core services, as well as 24/7 access to crisis services, which they can provide directly or via formal relationships with Designated Collaborating Organizations (DCOs):

  • Crisis Services
  • Treatment Planning
  • Screening, Assessment, Diagnosis & Risk Assessment
  • Outpatient Mental Health & Substance Use Services
  • Targeted Case Management
  • Outpatient Primary Care Screening and Monitoring
  • Community-Based Mental Health Care for Veterans
  • Peer, Family Support & Counselor Services
  • Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services

CCBHCs are required to report on 21 quality measures, have a plan for quality improvement, and track other program requirements. 

CCBHCs can be supported through the CCBHC Medicaid Demonstration, through SAMHSA-administered CCBHC Expansion (CCBHC-E) Grants, or through independent state programs.

What is an FQHC?

FQHC stands for Federally Qualified Health Center. FQHCs offer a broad range of care services, including medical, dental, and behavioral health services. They often provide preventive care, chronic disease management, and other essential healthcare services. FQHCs are typically located in medically underserved areas to improve access to care in these areas.

FQHCs are funded through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. To determine the cost of care for patients, FQHCs use a sliding fee scale adjusted based on the patient’s ability to pay. This makes the cost of services at FQHCs more affordable for low-income individuals and families.

What is Whole Person Care?

Whole Person Care involves integrating physical health, behavioral health, and social services in a patient-centered manner to improve outcomes for individuals. It focuses on assessing the whole person—not just individual conditions—and considering multiple factors when addressing health concerns. Whole Person Care can help individuals, families, communities, and populations to improve their health in interconnected biological, behavioral, social, and environmental areas.

What is Measurement Based Care?

Behavioral Health Measurement-Based Care (MBC) is the systematic evaluation of patient symptoms before or during an encounter to inform Behavioral Health treatment. MBC involves tracking patient progress over time using standardized measures and adjusting treatment plans accordingly. With MBC, evidence-based tools are used to monitor patient outcomes, identify areas of improvement, and adjust treatment interventions based on patient needs and preferences.

What is E-prescribing?

E-prescribing is the process of electronically generating and transmitting prescriptions to pharmacies directly from behavioral health and other healthcare providers.

With electronic prescription services, healthcare professionals can enter prescription information into a mental health electronic health record (EHR) system. The prescription data is then securely transmitted to a pharmacy.

Electronic prescription services offer several advantages, including improving efficiency, reducing errors and misinterpretation, and providing real-time access to patient medication history, drug interactions or allergies.

What are Inpatient and Outpatient Behavioral Health Services?

Inpatient mental health services are for individuals in crisis or with severe behavioral health conditions that require intensive, 24-hour care, typically in a hospital or a specialized mental health facility. Outpatient services are less intensive and allow individuals to continue their daily lives while receiving treatment for less severe mental health concerns.

How is Artificial Intelligence Used In Behavioral Health?

Artificial Intelligence, or AI, “is a machine’s ability to perform the cognitive functions we associate with human minds, such as perceiving, reasoning, learning, interacting with an environment, problem-solving, and even exercising creativity.”

Common types of AI models include the following:

  • Machine Learning. Designed to generalize patterns and relationships in data and make predictions and recommendations without being explicitly programmed.
  • Deep Learning (Neural Networks). Inspired by the structure of the human brain. Designed to process and analyze larger volumes of more complex data, including image and speech recognition.
  • Natural Language Processing (NLP). Designed for computers to understand, interpret, and generate human language.
  • Computer Vision. Designed to enable computers to interpret and understand visual information from the world.

An important subset of AI in Behavioral Health is Augmented Intelligence, which is “a conceptualization of artificial intelligence that focuses on AI’s assistive role, emphasizing that its design enhances human intelligence rather than replaces it.”

The concept of Augmented Intelligence is key in Behavioral Health. For example, AI Machine Learning models can quickly process, analyze, and spot relationships in the large amount of data generated by Behavioral Health organizations. AI Natural Language Processing models can interpret, analyze and document behavioral health conversations. These models can then be leveraged to enhance the ability of human clinicians to provide care more efficiently and effectively than otherwise possible.