Interoperability challenged by lack of EHRs in mental healthcare, new report finds

A new Bipartisan Policy Center report found that most mental healthcare providers do not use electronic health records (EHRs), preventing full integration of patient data between physical and mental healthcare providers. While the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of 2009 incentivized physical healthcare providers to adopt electronic systems to better track and share patient data, other regulations pertaining to mental healthcare, such as the Confidentiality of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Patient Records statute, are designed to avoid information sharing and protect patient privacy.

Within today’s opioid epidemic, however, clinicians are often unable to get the information they need to better assist patients struggling with addiction. The Bipartisan Policy Center drafted four potential actions through which legislators could improve care coordination:

  • Use the substance use report (mandated by the 21st Century Cures Act) to develop recommendations for Congress
  • Provide federal funding to mental healthcare facilities
  • Allow mental healthcare providers to receive HITECH Act funding, and encourage them to adopt EHR systems
  • Better communicate HIPAA updates and revisions

Learn more about the center’s recommendations here.

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