New Grant Funding to Enable Improvements for Behavioral Health and HIE in Colorado

Date: January 15th, 2014Category: CORHIO e-NewsletterTopics: HIE, Behavioral Health

Rose Community Foundation awards CORHIO a grant to improve health information exchange (HIE) for behavioral health practitioners and patients, and to offer personal health records for individuals with behavioral health conditions.

CORHIO is receiving a grant from Rose Community Foundation to support improved exchange of behavioral and mental health information among health care providers in Colorado. This is the second grant CORHIO has received from Rose Community Foundation and will continue the partnership to improve care coordination for Coloradans being treated by behavioral health care providers. These patients in particular can benefit from health information exchange because they often see multiple providers for several conditions and a lack of transparency with their records can cause detrimental gaps in care.

Three Areas of Focus

Funding from Rose Community Foundation will allow CORHIO to enhance its HIE technical infrastructure and better meet the needs of the behavioral health community through the following areas of focus:

  1. Create a Behavioral Health Information Exchange Coordinator position at CORHIO to manage both the system upgrades and partnerships with behavioral health organizations and stakeholders in Colorado.
  2. Implement a “granular consent” model for behavioral health, which allows patients to decide whether to keep more sensitive aspects of their health records private and excluded from CORHIO’s health information exchange. This addresses regulatory barriers and will create a truly bidirectional flow of clinical information between behavioral health and physical health providers, so they can care for patients as a coordinated team.
  3. Implement a personal health record that provides behavioral health patients the opportunity to manage their health records via a secure online portal. This will be particularly helpful for patients with co-occurring diseases or who visit multiple providers throughout disparate networks.

CORHIO’s Previous Behavioral Health Initiatives

CORHIO’s Behavioral Health Information Exchange Project, funded by Rose Community Foundation from 2010-2012, identified multiple recommendations supporting better integrated care and reducing barriers for health information sharing. CORHIO facilitated stakeholder and community events that contributed to a final report recommending integrating Colorado’s mental health, substance use treatment, and medical communities through the state HIE. (See /for-providers/behavioral-health.aspx for more details on this project).

Along with the Behavioral Health Information Exchange Project, CORHIO has made great strides in facilitating health information exchange for the state of Colorado. There is currently clinical information for three million unique patients in the HIE, which is more than half of the population of Colorado. All of the major hospitals and laboratories in the state are sending data into the HIE, or are in the process of doing so.

There are 17 behavioral health facilities (88 physicians) on the CORHIO network, accessing the physical health clinical data on their patients, and six additional facilities in queue to be connected. Using CORHIO, behavioral health providers can view laboratory and pathology results and radiology reports to see exactly what happened with their patient during a hospital stay or at a specialist visit. Exchanging this type of health information is crucial in improving care coordination and health outcomes. Overall, this integration can lead to a decrease in our health care system’s costs as a whole because it reduces unnecessary testing and leads to more preventative care.

“Rose Community Foundation’s generous grant allows us to further expand and enhance the HIE network in Colorado so that it better meets the needs of individuals with a behavioral health condition,” says Kelly Joines, Interim CEO at CORHIO. “We are looking forward to enabling better integration between physical and behavioral health to Coloradans.”