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Report: Interest in Behavior Health HIE Integration

April 11, 2012
by Gabriel Perna
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The Colorado Regional Health Information Organization (CORHIO), alongside a multi-stakeholder behavioral health steering committee and other communities across its state, has issued a report with recommendations and future strategies for effective inclusion of behavioral health in health information exchange (HIE).

To create the report, CORHIO facilitated six meetings in communities across Colorado, chosen to represent a broad cross-section of perspectives and attitudes regarding HIE. A total of 124 consumers, physicians, and other behavioral health stakeholders were in attendance to discuss the concerns, opportunities and priorities of exchanging behavioral health information.

As a measure to improve integration of behavioral and physical health, the Colorado Regional Health Information Organization (CORHIO) partnered with a and solicited feedback from communities across Colorado, to The report was written as part of the CORHIO Behavioral Health Information Exchange Project with support from Rose Community Foundation.

A few key points that came out of the community discussions included significant interest from consumers in having access to their health information within the HIE,   physicians and patients expressing significant concerns, such as privacy issues and inappropriate use of information, and behavioral health stakeholders agree that better information sharing can lead to better outcomes for individuals and populations receiving behavioral health care.

“Unfortunately, there is still a stigma associated with mental health conditions and some people fear that their diagnosis may fall into the wrong hands and will be used against them,” Amanda Kearney-Smith, director of the Colorado Mental Wellness Network and member of the project’s Steering Committee, said in a statement. “We have to be sure to strike a careful balance between protecting individual privacy with the need to have comprehensive information available for high-quality health care treatment and services.”

The report notes how behavioral health care services are not well integrated with physical or medical care. According to the CORHIO report, nearly 90 percent of participants surveyed agree that behavioral health should be considered a part of a person’s overall health care.

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