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Electronic Health Records
In Mental Health Practice

2 CE Credit Hours - Online Course - $19.00

Developed by Rob Reinhardt, LPCS M.Ed. NCC

This course is offered as part of a TeleMental Health & Digital Ethics Certificate Program of 28 CE Credit Hours.

Course materials: text/webpage Articles    videoVideos

Transcripts are available for ALL videos in pdf format.

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General Course Description

Electronic health records (EHR) are not only the future of record keeping, clinician communication, and continuing care for clients, but they are also being actively pushed into use by complex, proactive government programs. This course will dispel myths about EHR – especially as it relates to mental health clinicians – and provide a deeper understanding of how the concept of EHR differs from simple electronic records, ethical and privacy concerns around EHR, and guidance on how to proceed with EHR in your own practice.

This is an introductory level course on the essential topics that mental health clinicians need to know about electronic health records. It features an hour-long interview between mental health technology experts Rob Reinhardt, LPCS M.Ed. NCC and Roy Huggins, LPC NCC. It also includes a document summarizing the important points of the interview, which is followed by a series of articles that expand on the essential topics and also explain aspects of HIPAA compliance as it relates to EHR systems and other "cloud"-based services. Additional resources and references are provided for further study, but they are not part of the course.

Disclaimer: This course is purely educational and does not intend to serve as a license (or permission) to mental health professionals to prescribe or practice any of the approaches discussed in this course unless they fall within the scope of practice of your profession. Check with your licensing board about the scope of practice of your profession to make sure you practice within that scope. It also does not serve as a permission to title yourself in any specific way.

Educational Objectives

This course will teach the participant to:

1.    Distinguish between electronic health records and simple electronic record keeping.

2.    Describe the potential ethical and legal issues that arise from selling de-identified client data.

3.    Describe what Meaningful Use is and how it relates to mental health professionals.

Course Syllabus

Electronic Health Records in Mental Health Practice

Video Interview on EHR Systems and Document Containing

  • Important Terms: "EHR"
  • Unified Health Records
  • Confidentiality and Privacy of Mental Health Records in EHR Systems
    • EHR Companies and Selling Client Data
  • EHR and HIPAA Compliance
  • Advantages of Using EHR
  • Choosing an EHR or Practice Management System
  • EHR and the Affordable Care Act

Supporting Articles

EMR vs. EHR vs. Practice Management System

  • What is an EMR?
  • What is an EHR?
  • What is a Practice Management System?

Meaningful Use and Mental Health Professionals

  • The Meaningful Use Program
  • "Eligible Professionals" in Mental Health

Does Your EHR Vendor Sell Your Patients' Data

  • HIPAA and the Sale of De-Identified Data
  • Problems in De-Identification of Electronic Data
  • Ethical Dilemmas
  • Relevant Questions to Address

EMR Good, Cloning Bad

  • Reusing Previous Progress Notes and Charts As a Software Feature or Clinician Habit
  • Insurance Issues
  • Ethical Issues

Am I a HIPAA Covered Entity? How Much Does It Matter If I Am Or Not?

  • Definition of "HIPAA Covered Entity"
  • Relevance of Covered Entity Status to Ethical Responsibilities
  • Shedding Covered Entity Status

Your Software and Devices Are Not HIPAA Compliant

  • Meaning of "HIPAA Compliant"
  • Essential Requirements for HIPAA Security Compliance

What Is a HIPAA Business Associate Agreement?

  • Definition of "HIPAA Business Associate"
  • Requirements for Clinicians and HIPAA Business Associates

Online Data Backups and HIPAA Compliant Practice: A Government-Produced Monkey Wrench

  • HIPAA Omnibus Rule’s Expansion of HIPAA Business Associate Definition
  • Problems for Clinicians Who Employ Cloud Services, Especially Data Backups
  • Solutions

Clients Have the Autonomy to Receive Unencrypted Emails Under HIPAA

  • HIPAA Omnibus Rule Statements About Email
  • Providing Consent to Send Emails to Clients
  • HIPAA Rules vs. Licensing Board Rules
  • HIPAA Rules vs. Ethics Codes and Professional Guidelines
  • Applicability to Text Messaging
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