What to Look for in Methadone Clinic Software: IT Solutions Can Save Time, Produce Better Data, and Help with the Bottom Line

By Blumenthal, David; Stoddard, Ray | Behavioral Healthcare, May 2006 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

What to Look for in Methadone Clinic Software: IT Solutions Can Save Time, Produce Better Data, and Help with the Bottom Line

Blumenthal, David, Stoddard, Ray, Behavioral Healthcare

Directors of outpatient methadone clinics always are balancing costs against benefits. Because they need to manage within budgets, they must be absolutely certain that improvements will yield an appropriate return on investment (ROI). Today, many technology vendors are making their software solutions very affordable, creating new opportunities for methadone clinic directors to upgrade service delivery. As a result, this is an appropriate time to revisit the considerations for evaluating methadone clinic management software.

Among the top goals of many clinic directors is having staff spend more time caring for patients and less time on administration, maintaining better records, and producing more effective reports. However, any effort to improve operations must be balanced with budget considerations. Let's look at these areas and determine what the appropriate software solution must have to accomplish these goals.

Timesaving Functions

Record keeping. Working in a substance abuse clinic requires a great deal of focus and energy because of the number of simultaneous activities. Patients are anxious to receive their medications, meet with their counselors, and get on with the day's activities. The clinic must comply with federal, state, and local laws, regulations, and procedures; provide a multitude of services for their patients; and bill patients, Medicaid, and private insurance carriers. Other activities include:

* receiving, logging, and tracking class 2 narcotics, such as methadone;

* writing orders and dispensing medications;


* accounting for every milligram of medication in inventory, dispensed, or destroyed; and

* scheduling and tracking a range of supports such as social services, mental health services, and testing services.

A meaningful software solution should manage all of these functions and more. Record keeping should happen automatically in the course of a clinic's normal daily work. By this we mean that accepting medication shipments, scheduling appointments, writing orders, and providing patient services should be logical, automated, and provide all the information the clinic needs. Thus, clinic management software must be intuitive, as well as easy to understand, use, and configure.

Configurability. The ability to configure software to work as the clinic operates is important. Some software requires clinics to change their practices to adapt to the way the software has been designed. On the other hand, configurable software mirrors a clinic's procedures and rules by allowing clinic managers to answer questions and define their processes within the software. As a result, work methods do not need to be changed, and people are instantly more comfortable with the software solution. Configurable software allows for adaptation to changing procedures and rules, thereby protecting the software investment well into the future.

Signatures. Procedures can be enhanced by combining familiar models with new technology. Many items can be "signed in" one of several ways, depending on state laws and regulations:

Wet signatures are ink signatures on paper--the old-fashioned way. Almost every state requires that one or more documents (e.g., medication orders) be printed, carry wet signatures, and be placed in a patient's permanent file. Software applications must be able to print every form or screen that any state might require to have a wet signature for the permanent file. Some software prints orders on labels for signatures, thereby saving space in the file as multiple labels can be affixed to individual sheets of paper.

Electronic signatures require an electronic signature pad, such as those at retail stores for signing for a credit or debit card purchase. The person signs the electronic pad, and the signature is stored in a database along with a record of the item being signed for.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

What to Look for in Methadone Clinic Software: IT Solutions Can Save Time, Produce Better Data, and Help with the Bottom Line


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?