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      - EHR Implementation Success Story -

      Siouxland Mental Health Center

      EHR Streamlines Care Coordination Across 14+ Inpatient and Outpatient Settings



      From Bare Minimum to Tailored EHR Solution

      Siouxland Mental Health Center’s legacy EHR offered limited functionality and couldn’t support the growing practice’s evolving needs.


      Vetting a Dozen of Solutions

      Siouxland Mental Health Center’s legacy EHR offered limited functionality and couldn’t support the growing practice’s evolving needs.

      After one year of vetting nearly a dozen solutions, Siouxland implemented a new EHR in May 2020 from InSync Healthcare Solutions, which specializes in platforms that support the unique needs of community mental/behavioral health organizations.

      Today the EHR continues to exceed expectations by streamlining documentation, easing reporting, and facilitating care coordination between providers in multiple care settings, including home health and telehealth. Its flexible interface makes customizing psych templates simple, which is a big plus for a practice that frequently needs to make changes.


      Established in 1969, Siouxland Mental Health offers a variety of mental/behavioral health services to individuals in Sioux City, Iowa, and surrounding areas.

      Today, the organization’s 80+ multi-disciplinary healthcare professionals oversee care for thousands of patients per month, in the areas of adult and pediatric psychiatry, integrated home health, therapy, substance use disorder (SUD) treatment, and community/social support.

      The practice’s philosophy is to treat the whole person — not just their acute symptoms — through a multidisciplinary, team-based approach. All services are designed to stabilize patients’ mental and physical health and ensure a lifetime of happier, healthier days.

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      Just Enough to Get By

      Siouxland’s initial EHR offered just enough functionality for the practice to do the bare minimum: scan practice notes and patient information, report data to state and federal regulators, and transmit files to the practice’s billing department. But the practice still did 60% of its documentation on paper, an unduly time-consuming process.

      These concerns and others peaked in early 2019. And after multiple instances of reaching out to their EHR vendor and having to wait weeks, or months, for changes to templates and workflows, practice leaders were pushed to the breaking point.

      “The EHR we had wasn’t user friendly, so making any changes within the system, such as edits to a template, took months or years and would cost an arm or a leg,” explains Jessi Maxwell, Siouxland’s Quality Lead and Integrated Home Health (IHH) Team Lead. “We knew that our needs would only expand as we took on more patients in our community.”

      As Maxwell and Kelsey Water, Siouxland’s Compliance Officer and IHH Nurse Care Manager, embarked on a search for a new, and better EHR, they prioritized three things:

      1. Support for collaborative clinical care across multiple care settings.

      2. Workflow tools to ease care documentation and simplify billing.

      3. Efficient workflows that supported reporting for regulatory compliance.

      “For payers such as Iowa’s Medicaid integrated home health program, which overhauled its rehabilitation assessments to require more frequent updates, we didn’t want staff to spend several hours every month scanning and uploading paperwork,” says Maxwell. “This was an issue with our former EHR because assessments and templates weren’t available within the solution itself.”

      The hope was that a new, interoperable EHR would address all these challenges while easing evaluation and management (E&M) coding for billing purposes.

      The Decision: InSync EHR

      its two top candidates to its corporate headquarters for in-house demonstrations.

      InSync stood out for its robust, intuitive interface, which made it easy for administrative staff to create and customize templates without asking an IT support representative for assistance. Clinical staff and therapists appreciated the platform’s ability to easily toggle between applications.

      “InSync already had a lot of things that we needed, plus their system was super user-friendly,” says Maxwell. “We were empowered with functions that eased E&M coding within the psych template, as well as the ability to customize and tailor everything, and obtain support creating templates when needed. These were huge selling points.”

      EHR implementation, which began in early May 2020, went remarkably smooth, even though the practice was still navigating the early weeks of care amid the COVID-19 pandemic. While Maxwell said there were a few technical snafus in the weeks that followed, InSync’s speedy responsiveness helped staff get acclimated to the new system quickly.

      “The implantation went great,” says Maxwell. “We had two trainers assigned—one who floated between two in-person trainings and was available for 1:1 Zoom calls, and another who worked with practice management staff on site.”

      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
      -Jessi Maxwell, Siouxland’s Quality Lead and IHH Team Lead

      Game-changing Savings

      It’s hard to pinpoint just one reason why Siouxland is more than satisfied with its EHR, Maxwell cites the sheer number of hours clinical and administrative staff save as a key gamechanger.

      Also, the EHR makes care coordination among Siouxland providers much smoother, and providers feel they can collaborate in a more impactful way to the benefit of Siouxland patients.

      “The solution is very integrated and accessible,” says Maxwell. “For example, I can ‘see’ my client for integrative home health, and if things aren’t going well, and he isn’t taking his medications, I can use the EHR’s messaging feature to send a note to the psych provider to report the need for intervention. We can also interface with labs and get reports sent back and forth and integrate lab data with the patient portal.”

      The ability to pull demographic reports to find information, for submitting billing documents, is also smoother and more streamlined.

      Collaboration Configuration

      Having an EHR tailored to Siouxland’s behavioral health workflows, plus the ability to edit and refine psych templates, continues to enable the practice to focus more on what it does best: comprehensive mental health therapy and community services.

      Maxwell and her colleagues were so impressed with InSync that in February 2021, Siouxland implemented InSync’s telehealth platform for its virtual care program. This has helped the practice extend its services to even more high-needs patients who cannot utilize in-person care.

      “We were using another telehealth program but had a lot of issues with appointments being dropped,” says Maxwell. “InSync’s telehealth platform is embedded in the EHR, so clinicians can schedule appointments and share notes or view information through the ‘history’ tab with other providers in the same place. That helps a lot with collaboration.”


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