Psychiatry EHR: distinctive features,
use cases, and adoption guidelines

Psychiatry EHR: distinctive features, use cases, and adoption guidelines

June 20, 2023

Psychiatry electronic records software in numbers

psychiatrists legally practice in the US

American Psychiatric Association

psychiatrists use EHR in their practice

National Library of Medicine

expected CAGR of the US behavioral health EHR market size by 2030

Grand View Research

Psychiatry EHR system architecture

Though psychiatrists and mental health professionals have different workflows, they often use the same core electronic health records system, supplementing it with third-party integrations if needed.

Scheme title: Mental health EHR architecture

Admin interfaceSystem updates, fixes, upgrades, tuningInterface for patients and caregiversAppointment scheduling, data inputInformation viewingPrescription viewingePrescription moduleMedication prescriptionMental health professionals’ interfaceTerminology and template libraryData StorageAnalytical and reporting moduleOther third-party integrations (telehealth apps, healthcare CRM, hospital management software, etc.)Data from RPM devicesLaboratory information systemEHR softwareEHR softwareMental health professionals’ interfaceMedication prescriptionePrescription modulePrescription viewingInterface for patients and caregiversAppointmentscheduling,data inputInformationviewingAdmin interfaceSystem updates,fixes, upgrades,tuningAnalytical and reporting moduleData StorageTerminology and template libraryOther third-party integrations (telehealth apps, healthcare CRM, hospital management software, etc.)Data from RPM devicesLaboratory information system

Main features of psychiatry EHR

Psychiatry EHR differs from other specialized software because it incorporates templates, terminology, and security settings for the mental health field that don’t match with those of general medicine.

Main features of psychiatry EHR
  • Extended medical and mental health information
  • Immunization tracker
  • Treatment history
  • Adverse reactions log
  • Point of access for patients and caregivers
  • Appointment scheduler and reminder
  • SOAP notes templates for a variety of conditions
  • Pre-screening questionnaires
  • Comprehensive dashboards with medical information
  • Task trackers and reminders
  • E-prescribing of controlled substances (EPCS)
  • Referrals
  • Symptomatic pattern identification
  • Mental condition changes’ forecasting
  • Treatment effectiveness assessment
  • Department productivity evaluation
  • Multi-factor authentication
  • Layered distributed access control
  • End-to-end data encryption
  • Secure data transfer channels and protocols
  • Audit trail
  • Insurance information storage
  • Payer details specification
  • ICD-10 and ICD-9 psychiatric billing codes suggestions
  • Claim status check
  • Voice recognition and input
  • Chatbots and voice assistants for automatic documentation handling
  • Data exchange with medical IoT and other healthcare software

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Top 10 use cases for behavioral health EHR

We recommend implementing an EHR/EMR system that is at least partially customized to fit your specific practice. There’s an abundance of modules that support the most common psychiatry specialties.

Addiction disorder treatment organizations

Psychotherapists and counselors

Youth mental health specialists

Long-term psychiatric care facilities

Mental health care organizations serving veterans

Emergency psychiatric care centers

Neurodivergency specialists

Forensic psychiatrists

Geriatric mental health specialists

Clinical psychiatrists

Mental health EHR software

Psychiatry EHR success examples

Implementing an EHR solution tailored to a mental healthcare organization’s specifics boosts productivity and reduces expenses, which is proven by behavioral health providers’ success stories.


A small psychiatric practice in suburban St. Louis, Missouri, rapidly adapted to the influx of patients related to COVID-19 by implementing a specialized EHR. It achieved fiscal and clinical transparency, reduced prior authorization time from 24 hours to just one, and improved staff efficiency and satisfaction with voicemails and dictated notes transcription and transfer directly into the EHR.


Siouxland Mental Health Center facilitated care coordination among 14+ inpatient and outpatient settings and enhanced clinical workflows for 80+ medical professionals with specialized InSync behavioral health EHR and its customizable templates. Additionally, the new system simplified billing and reporting for regulatory compliance.

People sometimes don’t understand it’s not just about doing the notes — how effectively you’re communicating with a patient is important.

Sanjay K. Nigam, MD

Sanjay K. Nigam, MD

psychiatrist and owner, Southern Illinois Associates, LLC

I would say 90% of what we do now is in the system, whereas before, only 40% of what we did was in the system, and we just spent hours scanning and uploading paperwork.

Jessi Maxwell

Jessi Maxwell

Siouxland’s quality lead and IHH team lead

Psychiatry EHR integrations

EHR is at the heart of a psychiatry practice: interconnecting with other healthcare software, EHR improves an entire organization’s productivity.

Key integration options
Telemedicine solutions
Patient portals
Smart devices
Hospital management software
mHealth applications
Medical data analytics

Mental healthcare providers are using telehealth more frequently than any other specialists. Get an instant 360 view of a patient's health and make more data-based diagnoses by connecting your telemedicine platform to an EHR.

The success of psychiatric treatment depends mainly on trust between a patient and a provider. Give your patients more power over their health by allowing them to view and manage information about their condition via an EHR-connected patient portal.

Patient health monitoring is crucial for psychiatric practice. Get notified when your patient has an elevated heart rate due to an oncoming panic attack and view walking balance charts of patients with vestibular dysfunction from patients’ smart devices in your EHR.

Organize your psychiatry organization’s resources and personnel’s workload to streamline appointments and satisfy patients’ needs by integrating your HMS with EHR.

Give patients, caregivers, and healthcare providers the freedom to view and manage mental health information from anywhere at any time by integrating EHR with mobile apps.

With the help of integrated analytics software, you can understand your patients’ mental health patterns and their underlying causes more deeply and deliver especially personalized diagnosis and treatment.

Best mental health EHR platforms

Our experts help psychiatric care providers choose and integrate the best psychiatric EHR for their practice from the available platforms or develop a custom EHR to cover their specific needs.

One of the most prominent EHR and practice management software vendors, Epic can offer feature-reach customized solutions for almost any medical field.

Best for
  • Large psychiatry care providers: hospitals and long-term care facilities
  • Healthcare organizations with multiple specialties and departments

Can be cloud-based or on-premise, depending on the client’s needs


Starts from $1,200 but goes up with each integration


No free trial, demo only

Practice Fusion offers EHR or EMR customization flexibility for no additional costs, letting providers choose and use only the modules required by their practice.

Best for

Solo, small, and medium-sized behavioral and psychiatric practices




Starts from $149 per provider per month with an annual commitment required


Free trial available

Not specifically a mental health EHR software, athenaOne supports behavioral healthcare practices. Thus, it contains general-practice features as well as psychiatry-centered ones.

Best for

Healthcare organizations of different sizes that specialize in psychiatry or include mental health departments




Offers personalized quote


No free trial, presentation only

Developed exclusively for behavioral healthcare practitioners, EHR Your Way possesses the basic functionality and user-friendly interface but is not overcrowded with add-on modules.

Best for

Small and medium-sized behavioral health practices




From $700 for 15+ users per month with an annual commitment required and a 180-day money back guarantee


No free trial, demo only

How to choose and implement psychiatry EMR/ EHR software

With such a robust variety of electronic health records software on the market, behavioral healthcare providers sometimes need help to choose and adopt the most fitting solution. Learn the eleven steps that lead to successful mental health EHR implementation.


Consider the size of your patient base and the number of healthcare professionals that will use the system.


Identify the workflows that need upgrading with the help of EHR and base your requirements on them. Include psychiatry specialists in the discussion, as they are ultimately the system's end-users.


Create a vision of the perfect EHR solution - functionality, integrations, the amount of data it has to store, and the platforms and devices it should run on.


Evaluate your current infrastructure and how it fits into your implementation vision. Some parts could require an upgrade (e.g., new devices, a better internet connection).


Estimate the EHR implementation budget. Explore the market to understand the average cost of the envisioned system, including the hidden fees.


Shortlist vendors according to your requirements and budget. Ask for demos and discuss all the details, i.e.: meaningful use requirements, data backups, upgrades and scalability, etc.


Choose a vendor to work with and prepare a thorough implementation roadmap.


Stick to the plan and collaborate closely with the development team to ensure you are on the same page regarding the system’s usability.


Ensure the correct data migration once the system is ready.


Conduct personnel user training for the implemented psychiatry EHR.


Perform annual evaluations of the software efficiency and upgrade if necessary.

Benefits of EHR in psychiatry

Enhanced protection of sensitive patient information
Easier and safer prescription of controlled substances
Increased patient proactivity
Better care coordination
Simplified documentation management
More informed clinical decisions

Behavioral health EHR/EMR adoption challenges

Mental health care providers can encounter several challenges while adopting psychiatric medical records software. However, most of them can be solved by carefully choosing, integrating, and tuning the EHR/EMR system.



Psychiatry specialists fear that the system will take their attention away from patient care.

Surveys show that EHR/EMR software explicitly tuned for the particular field simplifies data entry, which lets personnel spend less time on clinical documentation and focus on patients’ needs. If it takes too much time and effort for a psychiatrist to fill in the intake forms, it’s a clear sign that their EHR system should be tuned, updated, or replaced with a more fitting solution.

Some practitioners believe that patient records would be susceptible to hacker attacks or loss due to system failure.

It’s crucial to adopt software developed under the healthcare industry’s security standards and data protection regulations. Choose an ONC-certified, HIPAA-compliant solution with powerful security capabilities (multi-factor authentication, distributed access control, data encryption, etc.) to better protect your patients' data. Additionally, it’s necessary to back up medical practice software, including EHR/EMR, to prevent data loss or damage.

A lot of private practices claim that the cost of the psychiatry EMR/EHR is too high.

There are a variety of pricing models for behavioral health EHR/EMR software, with many of them suited for solo and small practices. If none fits, an open-source EHR is another option to consider. Though its capabilities could be limited, it will still enable you to create patient profiles and define treatment plans, automate appointment scheduling, simplify medical billing, and so on.

Focus on the patient, not the paperwork

Focus on the patient, not the paperwork

In psychiatry, transparent communication between the specialist and the patient is crucial, as well as the smooth coordination between the psychiatrist and primary care provider. Electronic health records software facilitates multiple behavioral medicine workflows, including progress notes, outcome reporting, treatment decisions, patient support, documentation, and financial management. But it can also hinder the patient experience and personnel satisfaction if implemented incorrectly. Our experts work closely with clinicians to implement a solution with functionality valuable to your practice, smoothly integrate it with necessary third-party software, and ensure its interoperability with other healthcare solutions.

Focus on the patient, not the paperwork

Need a reliable EHR implementation partner?

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Is cloud EHR for psychiatry better than an on-premise one?

Not necessarily. It depends on your existing IT infrastructure and business requirements. Although behavioral EHRs hosted in the cloud are getting more popular, we recommend exploring this topic with experts to make your final choice.

How to become eligible for Meaningful Use reimbursement?

To qualify for the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive program, you should use an ONC-certified EHR in ways that can be measured significantly in quality and quantity over the specified time frame.

How much does an EHR for mental health cost?

EHR development costs vary depending on the number and complexity of the system’s features, necessary integrations, and the size of the user base. Talk to our team to get a quote specifically for your organization.

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