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OR Behavioral Health Center Adopts Carequality Using Netsmart EHR

Behavioral health providers will benefit from improved interoperability with community providers via Carequality and Netsmart.

Source: Thinkstock

By Kate Monica

- LifeWorks Northwest (LifeWorks NW) in Oregon will adopt the Carequality interoperability framework through its Netsmart EHR network in an effort to improve health data exchange between other acute and community care providers.

The behavioral healthcare provider will leverage the Carequality framework to gain access to health data and streamline direct recommendations about next steps for patients experiencing mental health crises in walk-in or acute care settings.

“We are focused on improving client outcomes, with an emphasis on examining and understanding the connections between an individual’s physical and mental health,” said LifeWorks NW Vice President of Operations Katy Beveridge.

“Because an individual’s wellbeing and state of overall health are integrally connected, we wanted to find a better way to open communication pathways across the healthcare continuum, so there is transparency in serving a client’s total healthcare needs,” she added.

LifeWorks NW also adopted the Carequality framework in an effort to offer an integrated care delivery model for mental health, addiction treatment, and physical health needs as part of a two-year federal Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) project.

READ MORE: MO Coalition Selects Netsmart for Population Health Management

The behavioral healthcare provider is one of two participating CCBHC providers in the Portland area. Oregon is one of eight states selected to participate in the project. Enabling interoperability through Carequality’s capabilities will ensure LifeWorks NW providers have access to real-time health data and actionable analytics to support its integrated network.

Lifeworks NW clinicians and staff will also have the ability to track, manage, and query a patient’s clinical data including complete medication lists, problems, and diagnostic data for better-informed clinical decision-making.

“We have a keen understanding that there are deep connections between physical and mental health, which ultimately can impact a person’s quality of life,” said LifeWorks NW CEO Mary Monnat.

“That’s why we are always seeking innovations like Carequality powered by Netsmart to help us lead the way and provide the strongest possible care that benefits everyone from our clients and the greater community to our partner healthcare providers,” she continued.

Adopting Carequality will also enhance the organization’s partnership with the Oregon Community Health Information Network (OCHIN). Through Carequality, the behavioral healthcare provider will be able to communicate and share health data with all major primary care providers throughout the Portland metro area.

READ MORE: Behavioral Health System Invests Millions in Epic Implementation

“Connectivity and the ability to share and exchange vital information between healthcare IT providers is a key and fundamental element of successful care coordination,” said OCHIN CTO Paul Matthews. “It all comes down to delivering the best care for individuals across all areas of healthcare, and we are glad to work in conjunction with other providers to achieve it.”

Carequality is a public-private initiative between the Sequoia Project and participating healthcare providers and EHR companies. Netsmart — which supplies Lifeworks NW’s EHR system — is a founding member and implementer of the Carequality framework. Netsmart EHR specializes in supporting behavioral, post-acute, and social services care providers.

“We are excited to work together with LifeWorks NW as they embrace Carequality to build stronger bridges in the care continuum,” said Netsmart CEO Mike Valentine.

Kno2 Director of Interoperability Alan Swenson to Co-Chair Carequality Advisory Council

Earlier this month, the Carequality Advisory Council announced Kno2 Director of Interoperability Alan Swenson will serve as its new council co-chair.

Swenson was elected to the position in October 2017 and will serve a two-year term as a non-voting participating in the steering committee that governs Carequality as a whole. The Carequality Advisory Council is a guiding body for individual workgroups that address the organization’s initiatives and serves as an intermediary between workgroups and the steering committee.

READ MORE: Carequality, CommonWell Reach Health Data Exchange Agreement

Swenson will use his new role on the advisory board to advocate for healthcare sectors that did not receive government incentives for EHR adoption, including long-term post-acute care (LTPAC), emergency medical services (EMS), behavioral health, and other care settings.

Prior to his role as Kno2 Director of Interoperability, Swenson assisted with improving interoperability for hundreds of healthcare systems at Epic Systems.

“To date, much of the connectivity supported by Carequality has been between healthcare providers who had implemented EHRs," said Swenson in a press release.

"Now that two million health records are being exchanged between these organizations each month, Kno2 is expanding the playing field by allowing paper-based providers to go live on Carequality through a web portal and making it possible for EMS providers to query vital patient data while en route,” he continued.

Swenson will also work to foster new initiatives to expand and improve the efficiency of Carequality connectivity.

"At first, interoperability was this cool, new thing,” said Swenson. “Providers were thrilled to be able to exchange information electronically between, say, hospitals and clinics, which was traditionally done via point-to-point integration projects – a heavy lift for most organizations.

“As interoperability becomes an expectation rather than an exception, it's important to think about not only how to implement it cost-effectively, but also to examine what type of data we're exchanging, as well as how it's structured and formatted,” he continued. “The next phase is the opportunity to standardize content being shared by various EHR vendors."

Future initiatives at Carequality will center on provider-to-provider communication, closed-loop referrals, and event-based notifications to care teams.

"Alan's leadership, along with co-chair Morgan Knochel of OneRecord, will be essential as we look forward to a year of expanding operations and engagement in exciting new projects,” said Sequoia Project Vice President for Carequality Dave Cassel.

Netsmart Acquires HomeCare Accounting Solutions

Netsmart also made efforts to expand its offerings earlier this month by acquiring the cloud-based software company HomeCare Accounting Solutions (HAS) to integrate its clinical and financial workflows for home health and hospice care providers.

“Post-acute providers have an opportunity to take the lead when it comes to managing a person’s healthcare journey and coordinating the performance of a variety of providers,” said Valentine.

“In a value-based world, providers who can prove they can coordinate care across multiple venues and manage the complexities and outcomes will be well positioned for success,” he continued. “The ability to have a seamless connection between clinical and financial will only make reporting easier as providers can show cost savings correlated with clinical outcomes.”

In July 2017, Netsmart acquired home healthcare and hospice health IT provider DeVero. By acquiring HAS, Netsmart intends to expand its suite of solutions to enable a more integrated workflow for clinicians using its DeVero CareRecord.

“Clients want a SaaS approach where all of the operations are managed for them so they can concentrate on what they do best: patient care,” said HAS CEO Mike DelCollo.

Netsmart will create a single, unified clinical and financial solution between its DeVero and HAS health IT offerings 

“The addition of HAS to our Netsmart family provides our clients who leverage the DeVero CareRecord with a one-stop-shop for clinical and financial solutions,” said Valentine.

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