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How to Store Behavioral Health Records

a therapist takes notes on a clipboard about how to store behavioral health records

Behavioral health practices are responsible for managing sensitive patient information, making it crucial to have an efficient and secure system for storing behavioral health records. Learning how to store behavioral health records or improve your current methods can help you take your practice to the next level.

Sunwave Health offers leading-edge software for electronic health records (EHRs) and electronic medical records (EMRs) that integrate all areas of your practice. Keeping patient information secure and available to your team at every point of care promotes smoother operations and better patient outcomes. Learn more about our electronic medical records software today by calling 561.576.6037.

Outdated Methods of Storing Mental Health Records: Risks and Consequences

Traditionally, behavioral health records were stored using paper-based systems or outdated electronic systems. These methods present several risks and consequences, including:

  • Data breaches – Paper records can be easily lost, stolen, or damaged, leading to unauthorized access and potential identity theft.
  • Inefficiency – Searching for specific patient records in a sea of paper files is time-consuming and prone to errors.
  • Limited accessibility – Paper records can only be accessed by those physically present in the office, hindering collaboration and timely decision-making.
  • Compliance issues – Outdated methods might not meet the necessary legal and ethical requirements, putting your practice at risk for fines and penalties.

Upgrading your practice to a leading records storage program can help you avoid the risks of paper or poor electronic methods while staying compliant.

Staying Compliant While Handling Behavioral Health Records

It’s essential to understand the legal and ethical requirements for storing behavioral health records. Key regulations include:

  • HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) – This U.S. law establishes national standards for protecting sensitive patient information. It requires covered entities (like healthcare providers) and their business associates to implement physical, technical, and administrative safeguards to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of protected health information (PHI).
  • HITECH (Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act) – Enacted as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, HITECH promotes the adoption of electronic health records (EHRs) and strengthens HIPAA’s privacy and security rules.
  • 42 CFR Part 2 – This federal regulation protects the confidentiality of drug and alcohol abuse treatment records by prohibiting unauthorized disclosures without patient consent.

Maintaining compliance with federal regulations is much easier with a sophisticated, practical solution for behavioral health record storage.

Things to Consider when Storing Mental Health Records

When evaluating your behavioral health records storage system, consider the following factors:

  • Security – Implement robust security measures, such as encryption, strong access controls, and regular security audits, to protect sensitive data from unauthorized access.
  • Accessibility – Ensure that authorized personnel can easily access patient records when needed, promoting efficient decision-making and collaboration.
  • Privacy – Comply with relevant privacy regulations and maintain strict confidentiality to build trust with patients and protect their sensitive information.
  • Backup – Regularly back up your data to prevent loss in case of system failures, natural disasters, or cyberattacks.

All of these factors can be met with the right software solution for your behavioral health practice; keep them in mind when establishing a records storage system.

How to Store Behavioral Health Records

To create an effective storage system for your behavioral health practice, follow these steps:

  • Assess your current system – Identify the shortcomings of your existing storage method and determine your practice’s specific needs.
  • Explore innovative solutions – Research modern options such as cloud-based EHRs and practice management systems that offer secure and efficient storage for behavioral health records.
  • Develop a plan – Create a detailed implementation plan, including staff training, data migration, and system integration.
  • Ensure seamless integration – Integrate your new storage system with other business functions, such as billing, scheduling, and reporting, to maximize efficiency.
  • Monitor and improve – Regularly evaluate your storage system’s performance and make adjustments as needed to ensure ongoing compliance, security, and efficiency.

Sunwave Health offers scalable EHR solutions for your behavioral health practice. With out-of-the-box and customized software options available, you can find the software that works for your patients and staff.

Find a Solution with Sunwave Health

Now that you know how to store behavioral health records, it’s time to find a modern solution for your practice. Give your team pertinent access to secure patient information across all areas of your practice—from admissions to revenue cycle management—so you can improve patient outcomes and team efficiency. Call 561.576.6037 or contact us online to build a solution today.