HIE should include behavioral health, Colorado group says

Despite a constant flux of privacy concerns by patients, the behavioral health community must be involved in the development of a statewide health information exchange, a recent report from the Colorado Health Information Organization concludes. The report outlines three potential models for sharing such data, including:

  • One requiring patients to consent to the sharing of such health information via "opt-in."
  • One where certain data would only be available to certain providers.
  • One in which patients select who specifically has access to their healthcare data, which would require the creation of personal health records for all patients in the state.

Overall, 97 percent of the Colorado behavioral health community believes that securely exchanging behavioral health information will add value to the healthcare system, the report's authors write. Still, lingering concerns include inaccurate information being posted to a medical record (18 percent), maintaining privacy of that information (21 percent), and inappropriate use of the data (24 percent).

The authors point out that those concerns, as well as some others listed, weren't necessarily electronic concerns, and likely would still be present if the data were to be shared by some other means. "Fortunately, policies and operational safeguards can be built to form an even stronger trust environment with electronic data, including the ability to track individual access to a patient's record," the authors say.

Last month, the Rhode Island Quality Institute received a $600,000 grant from the Center for Integrated Health Solutions to help facilitate the extension of the state's health information exchange to behavioral health professionals, according to CMIO. CIHS is a joint initiative of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the Health Resources Services Administration, the latter of which announced last fall that it would provide up to $25 million to 29 behavioral health treatment programs across the U.S.

Illinois, Kentucky, Maine and Oklahoma all have also received similar funding enabling behavioral and general health providers to share information electronically.

To learn more:
- read the CORHIO report (.pdf)
- here's the CMIO article