Preferred Behavioral Health Group

“Penelope provides the most meaningful and configurable product for the diversity of work we do every day.”


About Preferred Behavioral Health Group

Preferred Behavioral Health Group (PBHG) is the leading behavioural health care organisation in central New Jersey. Since 1978, PBHG has been dedicated to providing quality care to those in need of guidance, counselling, and assistance with difficult personal issues.

Reasons Penelope was chosen

  • Configurable, cost-effective system that can track delivery of diverse services across multiple locations
  • Secure, cloud-based solution

Benefits from Penelope

  • Records now stored in one secure system that removes burden of manual record keeping, while ensuring HIPAA compliance and data integrity
  • Data collection now more consistent and streamlined
  • Ability for teams to collaborate and share information securely across multiple services and locations
  • Flexible system that can be accessed remotely


For over 40 years, Preferred Behavioral Health Group (PBHG) has been providing programs and services to individuals, families, and communities, and they are committed to serving their clients in the best way possible.

Driven by a mission to deliver quality and compassionate behavioural health services, PBHG knows that individuals, families, and communities as a whole are more than just their symptoms or their challenges. Each has goals, dreams, and more, and PBHG provides health care that respects the whole person, the whole family, and the whole community.

A central part of PBHG’s mission is to help build up individuals, families, and communities so that they can live improved lives, embrace healthy lifestyles, and enjoy a higher quality of mental, psychological, and physical health.

Athena Software recently contacted David Seegert, PBHG’s Program Director of School-Based Youth Services Programs, to learn more about why PBHG selected Penelope as its case management software solution in 2013, and the benefits the organization has seen from using the system over the last six years.

Why did Preferred Behavioral Health Group choose Penelope?

The School Based Youth Services Program of PBHG chose to use Penelope after researching nearly a dozen other EHR web-based systems.

Our school-based sites are spread out over four large schools in multiple districts, so having a system like Penelope that can streamline the process of record keeping and data management in the 21st century was critical.

Penelope was cost-effective, and provided the most meaningful and configurable product for the diversity of work we do every day.

What was your deployment experience like?

I am not a tech-savvy director. I am a mental health clinician, and the team at Athena made the training and deployment simple and user-friendly. I can’t imagine having to go through a process like that without their support and guidance.

“Athena made the training and deployment simple and user-friendly.”

What are the pain points that Penelope is solving for PBHG?

Penelope is solving our longstanding problems of inconsistent record keeping, lost files, physical storage, tedious and burdensome paper chart archiving, as well as HIPAA confidentiality issues. The secure server helps take the burden away from accidental errors with regards to protected client health information. Even simply not having to clutter each office with two or three locked file cabinets has improved the workflow and aesthetic environment.

How is Penelope used by your staff? What has their experience been like using the software?

All clinical and administrative staff use Penelope to enter client demographics, referrals information, complete intake assessments, treatment plans, suicide risk assessments, and progress notes.

Staff are able to access the site from their office-based workstations or portable laptop devices during times when the school is closed or they are working at another location. The director is able to securely access any client file from anywhere in the world at any time to audit charts and sign supervision notes.

The software initially takes some repetition by new users in order to navigate its multiple functions, but staff are usually able to get trained and become fluent in Penelope within the first month of hire. One of our biggest challenges using the interface is not being able to increase font size, which is a challenge for some folks with vision issues, but I imagine future releases might solve this problem.

Do you have any recommendations for other organizations who are considering Penelope?

Definitely spend some time on the training modules and with live Athena staff in order to get familiar with the entire Penelope interface. Like any new process, it takes time and repetition to master but the possibilities of its use has been endless for our site. We have not even used half of what it’s capable of doing yet and already feel like we’re getting everything we need from it.

Penelope has a great scheduling feature, which helps with time management and sharing information across departments, as well as an automated workflow feature so staff can communicate easily in a way that is more secure and direct than email.

Would you recommend Penelope to other organizations?

Absolutely. The guys and gals at Athena in Waterloo are super friendly and helpful, and don’t make customers feel they are only profit-driven. When my budget could not afford to make the technological leap into EHR, and even upgrade to certain needs like more licensing and cloud storage, the team allowed me to accomplish it. I would highly recommend Penelope to other organizations, especially nonprofit mental health agencies with challenges in funding.

“I have come to think of Penelope like my cell phone. I didn’t know I needed it until I had it. Now I wouldn’t be able to function without it.”

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