Behavioral health providers are generally positive about health information exchanges

Health Information Technology

A new study suggests that the majority of behavioral health providers, such as psychologists, mental health counselors, and social workers, are receptive to health information exchanges (HIEs). Despite this positive attitude, many believe these systems would add cost and time burdens to their practices. They are also concerned about access to client information, as well as their legal and ethical vulnerabilities.

Researchers collected survey data on 674 behavioral health providers in Nebraska. The providers included different types of licensed practitioners, therapists, social workers, counselors, and psychologists. The majority practiced in the outpatient setting in metropolitan areas of 250,000 to 1 million residents. The survey asked participants about their beliefs about HIEs in four areas: improved care and communication, added cost and time burdens, access and vulnerability concerns, and impact on workflow and control of access to client information. Overall, 67 percent of those surveyed felt positive about the impact of HIEs on behavioral health services. These individuals believed that HIE improves care, communication, workflow, and the control of access to client information. The other 33 percent believed HIE would add cost and time burdens, have a negative impact on workflow and control, and posed access and vulnerability concerns. Providers who were more positive about HIEs tended to be younger, confident in their computer skills, and had prior satisfaction with electronic health records. The study was supported by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (HS017838).

See "Behavioral health providers’ beliefs about health information exchange: A statewide survey," by Nancy Shank, Ph.D., M.B.A., in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association 19, pp. 562-569, 2012.

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Page last reviewed March 2013
Internet Citation: Behavioral health providers are generally positive about health information exchanges: Health Information Technology. March 2013. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/news/newsletters/research-activities/13mar/0313RA39.html