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MeHI $193K Awards to CEHRT Vendors Target Behavioral Health

Nearly $200,000 in grant funding is going to 4 EHR companies to improve behavioral health data reporting in Massachusetts.

EHR vendor support for behavioral health data reporting

Source: Thinkstock

By Kyle Murphy, PhD

- Four certified EHR technology (CEHRT) vendors are the recipients of a combined $193,000 from the Massachusetts eHealth Institute (MeHI) at MassTech to support behavioral health data reporting across the state.

The four CEHRT vendors — eHana, Netsmart Technologies, PsyTech Solutions, and Qualifacts Systems — will each work with four behavioral health organizations across the state to develop and implement interfaces between their EHR platforms and the Children’s Behavioral Health Initiative (CBHI).

The grants through the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) Interface Development Grant program will improve the behavioral health data reporting by replacing manual processes currently necessary for generating 40,000 reports annually.

“These awards continue MeHI’s focus on improving access and use of technology to help behavioral health practices across Massachusetts,” MeHI Director Laurance Stuntz said in a public statement.

“CANS reports are an important tool to help manage care for some of the state’s most vulnerable children, but the manual process took valuable provider time and distracted from patient care,” he continued. “These investments will help automate much of the reporting process, allowing providers to conserve hundreds of staff hours each month and stay focused on patient-care, rather than data entry.”

Three of the four CEHRT vendors will receive $54,000 in grant funding to work with their nine partnering behavioral health organizations. PsyTech Solutions will receive $31,000 for its work with Amesbury Psychological Center, Multicultural Wellness Center, and Jewish Family and Children's Services.

The grant program is the byproduct of stakeholders meetings that identified challenges related to reporting behavioral health data across the state. In October 2016, MeHI began its request for proposals which required the development of a CANS HL7 interface to move data from behavioral health EHR systems to the state’s behavioral health data repository via the statewide health information exchange, the Mass HIway.

“Now more than ever, we need to find ways to use technology to help clinicians better manage, track, and provide enhanced services to children and their families dealing with significant behavioral, emotional, and mental health needs,” said Massachusetts Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders. “By investing in digital health solutions such as these, we can leverage providers’ electronic health records and ease the reporting demands on the providers that are treating these kids, allowing these organizations to place more effort where it matters, on day-to-day treatment and case management.”

Massachusetts clinicians providing behavioral healthcare to people 21 and younger are required by law to submit data to the state as part of public health program.

Leadership from Gosnold on Cape Cod, who will be working with Netsmart Technologies, are optimistic about the efficiency gains that HL7-powered EHR interface will have on behavioral health reporting workflows.

“From what I can see already, this upgrade will have a tremendous benefit to how we handle patient records,” said Director of Health Information Systems Scott Turton, MSW, LICSW. “Before it was a very involved, multi-step process to submit these reports. This new interface is much more streamlined, as the data is pulled directly from the patient’s existing electronic record, compiled by this new interface, and then submitted from the new interface directly to the state.”

According to MeHI, an estimated 3,000 monthly CANS report will now occur directly between the behavioral health provider EHR and the CBHI system. No longer will behavioral health clinicians have to go through the process of manually transposing EHR data into the state’s Virtual Gateway.

Per the award, the CEHRT vendors will develop and deploy a CANS HL7 interface, establish a connection with the CBHI system, and provide support for no less than two years following the go-live to ensure the system functions correctly.



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