MassTech grants EHR vendors thousands to improve child behavioral health data reporting
The Massachusetts eHealth Institute (MeHI) at MassTech has awarded nearly $200,000 to four electronic health record vendors to build pathways for Massachusetts behavioral health providers to electronically submit reportable data to the Commonwealth’s Children’s Behavioral Health Initiative.
The EHR vendors and their grants include: eHana, $54,000; Netsmart Technologies, $54,000; PsyTech Solutions, $31,000; and Qualifacts Systems, $54,000.
The grants come from an open procurement process under MeHI’s Children’s Behavioral Health Initiative Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths Interface Development Grant Program. They incentivize the four vendors to build new electronic interfaces and connect 12 Massachusetts behavioral health providers, allowing the providers to efficiently submit Children’s Behavioral Health Initiative reports, replacing a manual process for the roughly 40,000 reports they submit to the Commonwealth annually.
“These awards continue MeHI’s focus on improving access and use of technology to help behavioral health practices across Massachusetts,” said Laurance Stuntz, MeHI’s director. “Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths 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.”
These investments will help automate much of the reporting process, enabling providers to conserve hundreds of staff hours each month and stay focused on patient care rather than data entry, Stuntz added.
The grant program stemmed from stakeholder meetings sponsored by MeHI that identified inefficiencies in the workflows at behavioral health providers and recognized the role technology could play in alleviating the issue.
Based on that input, MeHI developed and launched a request for proposals in October of 2016 seeking EHR vendors that work with Massachusetts behavioral health providers to develop a new Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths HL7 interface that will extract the child and adolescent needs and strengths data from an organization’s EHR system, compile the data according to program specifications, and then automatically submit it to the Commonwealth’s Children’s Behavioral Health Initiative Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths system through the Mass HIway.
The Children’s Behavioral Health Initiative system is a court-mandated program in Massachusetts that requires clinicians providing behavioral health services to children under the age of 21 to submit critical patient data so that the state can accurately assess the needs of this patient population. The mission is to ensure that children under the MassHealth system who have significant behavioral, emotional and mental health needs receive the services they need to ensure success at home, school, in the community and throughout their everyday life.