Epic links with behavioral health EHR

HIE technology and CCDs with integrated data to offer 'more complete picture'
By Mike Miliard
11:06 AM
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A new partnership between a Portland, Oregon-based behavioral health services provider and a local health system will use an HIE tool to link the hospital's acute care data with a specialty behavioral health EHR.

[See also: Behavioral health's EHR conundrum]

LifeWorks NW, which provides mental health, addiction and prevention services, uses Netsmart CareRecord, which is tailored for behavioral health, drug treatment and recovery and child and family services.

Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center, a federally qualified health center for underserved populations, uses Epic.

[See also: IOM wants more data logged in EHRs]

Together, the two providers have launched a project to more effectively treat the "whole person," ensuring that primary care physicians and behavioral health clinicians have access to all the relevant physical and mental health data they need.

In partnership with OCHIN, the Oregon Community Health Information Network, using Netsmart's CareConnect HIE technology, a continuity of care document is created for each patient that can be securely exchanged between LifeWorks NW and Virginia Garcia.

The CCD includes integrated data from both the Netsmart and Epic EHRs.

"This initiative will allow clinicians on both sides – primary care and behavioral health – to deliver more informed care based on a more complete picture of clients," said LifeWorks NW President and CEO Mary Monnat in a press statement.

While LifeWorks NW and Virginia Garcia have long worked together, before this project, clinicians weren't able to electronically access patient records from their counterparts, officials say.

This new data exchange initiative helps eliminate redundant tasks such copying, scanning, phone calls and paperwork, officials say.

"This system delivers the right data to the right place at the right time, and enables earlier identification and treatment of acute and behavioral issues," said Laura Byerly, MD, medical director at Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center, in a statement.

Giving providers full visibility into a patient's authorized health data enables more comprehensive care, elimination of redundant or unnecessary testing, prevention of drug-to-drug interactions, and ideally improved outcomes and reduced costs.

"Interoperable EHRs clear the way for clinicians to focus on their ultimate goal – treating the whole person," said Netsmart CEO Mike Valentine in a statement.