Electronic Health Records

Integration & Interoperability News

Rhode Island HIE begins exchange of behavioral health data

By Jennifer Bresnick

CurrentCare, the statewide health information exchange (HIE) of Rhode Island, is the first in the nation to exchange behavioral health and substance abuse treatment data, allowing for greater communication and coordination of care for patients.  Two healthcare organizations in the small state have transmitted their first behavioral health records to the HIE, an achievement that Laura Adams, president and CEO of the Rhode Island Quality Institute (RIQI), called a “major milestone.”

“For the first time, behavioral health and substance abuse data are integrated, enabling care of the whole person, and bringing providers together in service of this goal,” she said.  RIQI is responsible for providing services for the statewide HIE, which began sharing data in 2011.  “The availability of information through the exchange will ensure that healthcare providers have ready access to important patient history,” added Richard Leclerc, President and CEO of Gateway Healthcare, which provides vendor services for the initiative. “This will facilitate more responsive and coordinated care than we have been able to achieve to date. Participating in Rhode Island’s Health Information Exchange will help eliminate duplicative testing and medical interventions while achieving superior patient care and outcomes.”

Dale K. Klatzker, Ph.D., CEO and President of The Providence Center, said, “By sharing health records with our primary care partners, our more than 500 clinical staff are able to give and get a full picture of an individual’s behavioral health and primary care needs wherever they are providing care–in emergency departments, homes, schools, and neighborhoods across the state. The electronic health record not only provides a full record of medications, diagnosis, and treatment histories for people with complex needs, it acts as a voice for people who often have trouble accessing and receiving quality healthcare.”

CurrentCare is an opt-in service, which makes it easier to add sensitive data like psychiatric history and substance abuse records to an exchange, since explicit consent is required unless it’s an emergency.  RIQI recently received $600,000 dollars from the Center for Integrated Health Solutions to add behavioral health data for more than 54,000 Rhode Islanders to the system.  Since CurrentCare’s inception, 200,000 patients have enrolled, sharing more than 4 million health records from eight of the state’s hospitals as well as diagnostic laboratories and some smaller providers.

“The fact that the behavioral health community and key state leaders have been engaged in statewide HIE efforts from the beginning helped position us for this funding and will allow this collaborative effort to hit the ground running,” LeClerc said.  Four other states, including Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, and Oklahoma, have also received similar funding to integrate behavioral health data into their HIE efforts.





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