Healthcare Technology Featured Article

April 28, 2014

New Exchange Intros Safety and Efficiency to Behavioral Health Care

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), there are 11 million Americans with serious mental illness. Studies by the same organization have reported 25 percent of all U.S. adults have a mental illness, and nearly 50 percent of U.S. adults will develop at least one mental illness during their lifetime. While there are effective treatment options for many of the mental conditions affecting the millions of Americans across the country, the problem lies in making the information available and convincing the patients to start receiving help. NextGen Healthcare and Mirth are solving the information side of this problem by powering the first statewide behavioral health information exchange in the nation.

The Behavioral Health Information Network of Arizona (BHINAZ) is an interoperability platform and architected consent management services to provide a safe and efficient behavioral healthcare.

NextGen Information Systems, LLC., a wholly owned subsidiary of Quality Systems, Inc. and provider of healthcare information systems and connectivity solutions, is making this platform available with its sister company, Mirth, a global provider of health information technology.

The goal is to provide a secure data exchange system that allows clinicians, consumers, state and Regional Behavioral Health Authorities, federal health agencies and communities in Arizona access to critical healthcare information at the point of care in a way that is secure, reliable and affordable.

“Information vital to making complete, accurate and timely decisions regarding critical behavioral health care decisions is often not available, particularly in a mental health emergency.With new levels of clinical data communication and the architected consent management services created by NextGen and Mirth, we now have access to both health and behavioral health patient data right at the point of care,” said Laura Young, executive director, BHINAZ.

The BHINAZ platform connects with all EHR systems to share information across multiple systems and organizations. Issues of compatibility often times have resulted in not receiving timely information because connectivity and services were denied by requiring software from a specific vendor. However, this platform uses the Mirth vendor-agnostic interoperability platform, which allows it to connect to a wide range of health systems, users and applications for delivering a comprehensive electronic health record.

The impact of mental illness on the individual patients, their friends, loved ones and society as whole is very taxing. A New York Times article stated the country spends about $150 billion annually on direct medical costs related to mental illness, but this doesn't include many of the hidden and indirect costs, financial and otherwise. The BHINAZ solution is one step in the right direction in addressing a problem that directly affects us all. 

Edited by Stefania Viscusi
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