Health Information Technology: Meeting a Critical Need
New Survey Report: HIT Adoption and Readiness for Meaningful Use in Community Behavioral Health
As we look at the future of healthcare in America, we know that much remains to be done to improve the health of Americans and control rising costs. But the core ingredient for a successful transformation is health information technology. Health IT is the backbone to payment and service delivery reform.
As evidenced by the Medicare and Medicaid meaningful use standards, if behavioral health organizations cannot adopt health IT at a rate comparable with primary care facilities, hospitals, and physicians, it will soon become impossible to provide comprehensive care and to compete in the marketplace.
Increasingly, our healthcare payers and consumers of health services expect ongoing collaboration and interaction between primary and specialty care. Accountable Care Organizations, health homes, and bundled payment structures require the capability to exchange data to support effective and efficient care. For those who provide and receive services form specialty behavioral health organizations, health IT is critical to coordination of care and instrumental in addressing the premature mortality of people with serious mental illnesses, literally helping to save lives.
A 2012 National Council survey found that only 23% of behavioral healthcare organizations have Electronic Health Records, with another 30% planning to implement EHRs in the next 1-2 years. On average, health IT spending in behavioral health organizations represents just 1.8% of total operating budgets — compared with 3.5% of total operating budgets for general healthcare organizations.
The National Council is aware of the barriers to widespread adoption of health IT by behavioral health. Funding constraints continues to cause behavioral health to lag behind the rest of healthcare. We’re working tirelessly on Capitol Hill to address funding through passage of the Behavioral Health Information Technology Act (S. 539). The act extends federal facility incentive payments for the meaningful use of health information technology to behavioral health organizations.
As with many issues vital to the delivery of quality services, the National Council’s policy and advocacy efforts are being coupled with support for organizations implementing health information technologies including EHRs. The National Council Value in Technology program offers a suite of technology consulting services. The program helps to navigate electronic health records, health information exchanges, disease registries, telehealth, and warehousing systems for data reporting. We assist in identifying potential funding sources, guide you through the vendor selection process, support project planning, and offer significant discounts on hardware and software purchases.
To find out more about the National Council Value in Technology program, contact Jeannie Campbell at 202.684.7457, ext. 226 or JeannieC@thenationalcouncil.org.