The Times Are A-Changin': Three Recent Conferences on Behavioral Health IT Highlight the Technologic Challenges Ahead for the Field

By Drotos, J. Chip | Behavioral Healthcare Executive, January 2006 | Go to article overview

The Times Are A-Changin': Three Recent Conferences on Behavioral Health IT Highlight the Technologic Challenges Ahead for the Field


Drotos, J. Chip, Behavioral Healthcare Executive


Here's a short quiz for the New Year. Compare the following terms: vaporware, word processors, DOS, GIGO, Internet, Fortran, Centromine with paradigm shifts, RHIOs (regional health information organizations), technology-driven transformation, resistance to change, outcomes, recent initiatives, incentivize, neu-rotechnology, and interoperability. If you guessed "old terms and new terms you hear at IT conferences," you are correct. These concepts and more were bandied about at two IT conferences in Pittsburgh this past November: the Institute for Behavioral Health Informatics (IBHI) and the 2005 OPEN MINDS Information Technology Institute.

These meetings came on the heels of the National Summit on Defining a Strategy for Behavioral Health Information Management and Its Role Within the National Health Information Infrastructure in September, at which 150 invited members of six segments of behavioral healthcare submitted their recommendations for the behavioral health electronic health record (EHR).

Tom Trabin, PhD, executive director of the Software and Technology Vendors' Association (SATVA), one of the summit's sponsors, highlighted several of the summit's recommendations at a presentation he gave at the IBHI: A public/private behavioral health group should be formed to coordinate and harmonize data standards and to incentivize strategies; broad-based training must be provided for the EHR; behavioral health perspectives should fit within the general health EHR; and behavioral health and human services need to be identified as a unique field with esoteric requirements for software design and information management. The summit planning group is on task to meet again to sort through additional recommendations. Watch for MHSIP (the Mental Health Statistics Improvement Program) and SATVA to post the proceedings on their Web sites (www.mhsip.org and www.satva.org).

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Dr. Trabin's presentation was one of many at the IBHI, an attempt to resurrect the concept behind the Behavioral Healthcare Tomorrow/Behavioral Informatics Tomorrow conference of years past. …

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