Behavioral Health EMRs: A Small Sampling

In theory, any medical practice-friendly EMR could be adapted for use in a behavioral health setting.  (That’s my theory, at least.)  But as with other specialties, there’s a growing list of vendors who are offering EMRs focused on behavioral health.

Since we’re not finding any comprehensive sources of such vendors out there, we thought we’d share a  very small sampling of those we could find and see if you have any feedback. Yes, there’s probably of hundreds of vendors who claim to support psych, but we hope these few help to start a discussion.

If our quick look is any indication, there’s no single model or feature set that’s won over the psych marketplace.  Here’s hoping it matures soon;  right now my guess is that these would be a nightmare to integrate into a shared HIE.

Are any of you using an EMR specific to behavioral health? How is it working out? Have we left any important vendors out (including non-specialized platforms which seem to work well in psych settings)?

We look forward to your feedback!


* Acrendo (  Tablet PC-based EMR.   Features include mental health templates, appointment setting, Dragon-based dictation and e-prescribing.

* ICANotes ( Web-based EMR focused on psychiatry/psychology practice. Supports sub-specialities, including child/adolescent, substance abuse, eating disorders and geropsychiatry.

* OmniMD Psychiatric EMR ( Includes mental health intake and depression/anxiety exam.

* Psychnotes EMR (  Available as hosted or installed solution. Company specializes in psychiatric products. Supports speech and handwriting recognition.

* Psytech Solutions (  Offers Epitomax, a hosted EMR whose features include scheduling and billing.

*  Sigmund Software (  Described as “an enterprise management software application for human service agencies.” Features include target behavior tracking.

*  Valant Psychiatric EMR ( Hosted EMR also featuring billing and e-prescribing.

* Qualifacts (

About the author

Anne Zieger

Anne Zieger

Anne Zieger is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.


  • Thank you shining a light on Behavioral Health EHR’s! I work for The Echo Group, one of the largest behavioral health software vendors, and also sit on the board of the Software and Technology Vendors Association (SATVA). SATVA is the trade association for behavioral health and human service software vendors. I wanted to offer a couple of thoughts. First, let me refer readers to for information on behavioral health software vendors.
    Our experience is that the needs of behavioral health (BH) providers are quite different than that of medical practitioners. The tradition and regulations of clinical practice are dissimilar leading to real variation in needs for an EHR/EMR system. A few specific examples include the nature of the clinical assessment, a requirement for a specifically formatted treatment plans, progress note requirements and the nature of service authorization and billing. Additionally, many BH providers are subject to regulations that are highly specific to the State and/or County where they deliver services leading to specific requirements for demographic reporting and billing.
    It’s important to understand that while BH is considered a specialty in comparison to medical practice, there are a variety of specialties within BH. A list might include private practice, community mental health, psychiatric hospitals, children’s services/foster care, alcohol & drug treatment and organizations that work with folks who have developmental disabilities. In addition to challenges that medical practice software products would have in addressing the needs of BH providers, the listed sub-specialties create another level of complexity. In fact, some BH software products are better tuned for these sub-specialties than others. While there is movement to merge BH and medical practice both in terms of service delivery and health information technology, the needs are still quite divergent.
    SATVA and its member organizations have done extensive work on HIE both with technical development and stakeholder involvement and education. There is lots of good news about our industry’s ability to conduct HIE with a primary focus on the Continuity of Care Document. Rules that BH providers must comply with regarding consent to release the information is a major challenge. 42CFR is an example.

  • What I have found is the mental health community is very protective of their information by nature. It takes a lot more show and tell training to have them see the benefit of the EMR. The clinics we have are child and family therapy. There are many forms and reporting requirements from the state and school districts that the EMR has templates for as well as free hand and voice recognition. Once embraced by the therapist they see that they have a wealth of comparative data across their patient base that they never had before. Once this light bulb is light there is no putting it out. Our product is fully integrated with the practice management and scheduling system and is web based. I think the rest of the health care industry has kind of forgotten about this valuable contribution to our health, maybe for the better. The less the government and regulators look at them the better off they are. The cost is another problem for the mental health industry. They can only see one patient an hour and the fee averages around 100.00 this is not much margin to work with for a clinic. We have worked out a per claim based fee that makes it reasonable for this client to move into the IT age. Thanks, John

  • It is important to understand that BiH as a specialty from medical practice, there are a number of specialties in Bosnia-Herzegovina. There is much good news about the ability of our industry to implement HIE with an emphasis on continuity of care document.

  • Anne,
    I am excited to see an post with regards to MH. Finding Software info specific to this specialty has been quite arduous. I’ve been researching for longer than I care to mention. If I knew then what I know now, it could have saved me a lot of time and staff hours.

    Below is a link to a site that really expedited my search in the right direction. It is from Behavioral Healthcare Magazine and they published a survey of MH ‘supposedly specific EMR/EHR vendors. I say supposedly, because there are few that are not specific, Netsmart and Accumedic are two of them.

    From my findings, I have determined that if you have both Prescribers and non-prescribers, ie. Social Workers, PhD’s, etc. it makes absolute sense to go with a MH specific vendor. The capabilities for the clinician are far beyond what can be done with a generalist program (even those that ‘dabble’ in Psych) The amount of money you would need to spend to have it customized to be even somewhat competitive with the specific software would make the generalist software pricing prohibitive. I’m not talking about just having a few templates/forms created for Psych but having multiple decision making support tools built-in and having the majority of notes, tests, etc ultimately supporting and creating the treatment plan. These are required in most MH Gov’t funded facilities and payors are increasingly putting the pressure on even the private clinician to provide the data in order to get either prior auths or to get paid.

    If however, you have a MH office that is Prescriber only, ie. Md’s, NPN then a generalist/ambulatory software with a few templates, etc may suffice. It would still behoove the prescriber to look at what they are missing in a MH specific software, but to me it is key for the non-prescriber to have MH specific software.

    To add to your list, I suggest readers also take a look at and for server based and webbased options.

  • LWSI (Lavender & Wyatt Systems, Inc.) and IBM provide a complete integrated solution for Behavioral Health providers. The electronic medical records software solution, Essentia, is easy to use and helps providers drive new efficiencies resulting in improved client care and increased revenue.
    Essentia supports the complete organization by integrating Administrative, Human Services, Electronic Medical Records and Business Intelligence into one web-based application. In addition, LWSI offers High Availability to enable 24/7 continuous availability in the event of a disaster or system update. The software solution may be deployed remotely online as Software As A Service or may be hosted on an internal IBM system.

  • I just wanted to correct our web address for PsyTech Solutions, Inc. and Epitomax which is and to say that Epitomax is available as either hosted or installed. It is web-based and accessible using and iPad, a smart phone, or vitually any device with a browser and a connection to the Internet.

  • Does anyone know if any of the mental health EMR packages can integrate with the medical practice EMRs? Does it make sense to integrate? Would you need laboratory and radiology reports for instance? Would you need medical admission histories?

    I am particularly interested in knowing if any of the mental health EMR packages can integrate with Siemens EMR products.

    Thanks in advance,

  • Barbara, most of the mental health EMRs should have the capability to ‘interface’ or ‘integrate’ with/to medical practice EMRs. However, there is a difference between to 2 (interface vs integrate). Interfacing may require logging into different systems and/or rekeying of critical information, while integration is a more tightly built ability to effectively pass the data to/from. Make sure the vendor explains in layman terms how their system interfaces or integrates. Joseph

  • I urge you to check out Patagonia Health’s federally certified EMR for Behavioral Health ( We have taken great care to create a product that supports many aspects of community mental health support all the while keeping the benefits of a state of the art cloud based EMR tool. This is not just a medical EMR that supposes to be a fit for BH! We urge you to take a look at how we have worked to support behavioral health requirements using the latest technologies – we will make you think if you think a BH EMR product should have on board access to relevant service forms, cascading sign offs of notes, assessments, etc. Document repository for consumer consents, HR supports, integrated billing from the notes to payments, accessible analytical reports, etc. We value any and all feedback to help us improve our product to fit the BH provider community.

  • our product, DrCloudEMR ( has been developed in conjunction with a premier behavioral health clinic. Thus, it is uniquely suited for mental health/behavioral health/substance abuse EMR needs. It is ONC-ATCB certifed and our customers have already received stimulus reimbursement DOLLARS!! Please check us out.

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