Nationwide Report Focuses on State-by-State “IT” Capabilities
Information Technology (IT) Focuses on Electronic Health Records
Forty-six states (94 percent) are either incorporating or planning to incorporate electronic health records in state psychiatric hospitals and planning to support their use in community mental health systems.
These data come from a recent report from SAMHSA, Characteristics of State Mental Health Agency Data Systems, which reviews the current status of mental health IT in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and four territories—referred to collectively as “states.”
The report’s overview describes the increasingly crucial role IT plays in helping the states provide mental health services. The report also reveals the differences in the size, types, and uses of IT resources among the Nation’s state mental health agencies.
Public mental health services are primarily provided by the state mental health agencies that increasingly rely upon their IT systems to provide essential functions such as:
- Monitoring the public mental health service system for service gaps
- Ensuring that persons living with a mental illness receive timely, appropriate, and needed services
- Reimbursing mental health providers for services provided
- Building accountability performance targets and outcome measures.
Other findings related to electronic health records (EHRs) state-by-state include:
- Five states already have a complete EHR system in their state psychiatric hospitals, while 18 states have incorporated some parts of EHRs.
- Twenty-one states reported that EHRs are installed—in full or in part—in community mental health provider agencies.
- Twenty states have agreements about sharing EHR client-level data between providers—but these agreements vary.
- Twenty-one (55 percent) of the reporting states are using an electronic pharmacy/medications ordering system.
These findings demonstrate that state mental health agencies are devoting considerable resources to improve their mental health information systems by installing EHR systems, building data warehouses, linking multiple data systems, and enhancing the capacity of their information systems.
Read more about EHRs and other IT issues in Characteristics of State Mental Health Agency Data Systems.
For print copies, call SAMHSA’s Health Information Network at 1-877-SAMHSA-7 (1-877-726-4727). Request inventory number SMA08-4361.