Magazine article Behavioral Healthcare Executive

Spreading the Good News

Magazine article Behavioral Healthcare Executive

Spreading the Good News

Article excerpt

When it comes to technology, the behavioral healthcare field certainly has some catching up to do. That's old news, and this situation is not likely to change anytime soon. After all, mental healthcare and substance use treatment providers have a hard enough time finding funds to meet the overwhelming demands for--and on--services. Consequentially, as other areas of healthcare adopt new technologies to revolutionize treatment, behavioral healthcare providers usually don't catch on until years later. For example, as general healthcare rapidly moves toward empowering patients with personal health records (PHRs), behavioral healthcare providers are not showing as much interest in them, choosing to focus on their side of the clinical informatics equation--i.e., electronic medical records. (For more on this perspective, see Ron Manderscbeid's commentary on page 25.)

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But behavioral healthcare is not some IT backwater where innovations aren't to be found. Although the field sometimes takes slow and halting steps toward adopting new technologies, many providers are ahead of the curve (sometimes even beating their healthcare cousins to the finish line). For example, I recently learned that Verde Valley Guidance Clinic in Cottonwood, Arizona, is aiming to implement a regional health information organization (RHIO), a mighty task for any provider, particularly a community mental health center (more on this to come in an online-exclusive story at behavioral.net next month). On the other side of the country in Miami Gardens, Florida, Bayview Center for Mental Health announced last month a partnership with MDwebLive to offer online therapy services across the nation. …

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