First Behavioral Health Facilities in Colo. Connect to HIE

Date: October 3rd, 2012Category: CORHIO e-NewsletterTopics: CORHIO Network, Behavioral Health

San Luis Valley Mental Health Center and Spanish Peaks Behavioral Health Center are now accessing lab results through CORHIO.

Two behavioral health facilities in Colorado are now providing enhanced care coordination for patients through their new connection to the CORHIO health information exchange (HIE). San Luis Valley Mental Health Center and Spanish Peaks Behavioral Health Center are the first two behavioral health facilities in the state to join CORHIO’s secure network. Both organizations are a part of SyCare, a partnership of four community mental health organizations providing services to more than 68,000 Medicaid clients in 19 of Colorado's most economically disadvantaged counties. The four centers work closely together and share information systems, including electronic health record (EHR) and e-prescribing systems.

“As both a CORHIO board member and the CEO of Colorado Behavioral Healthcare Council (CBHC), the statewide membership organization for these organizations, it is very exciting to know community mental health centers are taking the lead to use CORHIO as a way of integrating physical and behavioral health information,” said George DelGrosso. “This greatly enhances the possibility that people who have both behavioral and physical health conditions will receive integrated care and better health outcomes.”

Facilities Have Instant Access to Patients’ Lab Results

Studies show that nearly 70 percent of clinical decision-making is based on or assisted by laboratory results[1]. Immediate and seamless access to lab results through HIE can positively impact quality of patient care by reducing fragmentation and unnecessary testing, prevent avoidable conditions, and promote independence and self-care. Currently, San Luis Valley Mental Health Center and Spanish Peaks Behavioral Health Center are able to access laboratory results through CORHIO.

“In the old days, lab results were sent to us by fax or mail, which could be unreliable and vulnerable to electronic glitches or human error,” said Dorothy Perry, CEO and president Spanish Peaks Behavioral Health Center, which treats 6,000 patients each year in Pueblo county and surrounding areas. ”Now that we can receive the results immediately, we can easily and quickly determine if a client is on the appropriate dose of medication or if there could be potential medication interactions. Overall, having access to lab results through HIE will help us better manage our clients to ensure they are receiving the best care possible.”

The Whole Medical Record is Important for Treating the Whole Person

San Luis Valley Mental Health Center has been providing behavioral health services for the citizens of the six counties of the San Luis Valley for almost 40 years. “With our connection to CORHIO, lab results are available right in our electronic health record,” said Chayne Boutillette, quality and compliance director. “It’s important to have the whole medical picture to treat the whole person. For mental health patients who have complicated medication plans with potentially dangerous side effects and interactions, access to timely data is critical. There also are certain psychotropic medications that require us to monitor blood levels. By having that information through HIE, it helps us better manage medications so our patients receive the optimum outcome from their treatment.”

To download the CORHIO/Rose Community Foundation report, please visit Supporting Integration of Behavioral Health Care Through Health Information Exchange.

[1] Burkhartmeier, Gary. ‘HIPAA and the Clinical Laboratory: Changes in Data Handling Necessitated by HIPAA Regulations Point Clinical Labs in the Direction of Internet-Based ‘Wrapper’ Solutions – Laboratory Systems.”Health Management Technology, November.