Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Upgrading Mental Health IT

According to the Draft Version of the “New York Statewide Comprehensive Plan for Mental Health Services 2010-2014” the New York Office of Mental Health (OMH) and OMH facilities depend on IT for patient care, financial and human resources management, and communication.

In New York, more than 2,500 locally operated mental health programs use IT systems for required financial reporting, and increasingly for care coordination and outcomes reporting. Also county and New York City mental health authorities use IT systems for planning and to oversee their local systems.

Overall OMH IT resources are directed toward systems management, data communications, and data processing for the Central Office, field operations, and outpatient and inpatient hospital settings. One of the priority areas for the state is to use EHRs at psychiatric centers to provide for the computerized entry of physician orders and for bar-coded medication administration.

In addition, the New York State Clinical Record Initiative (NYSCRI) is underway and is developing a standardized set of clinical record forms to be used by outpatient both day and residential programs for adults and children.

The pilot phase of the project has been completed in which more than 80 programs in the state took part. All of the 1800 comments received from the staff that used the forms in the pilot were reviewed, characterized, and the recommendations were followed to revise the forms as appropriate.

Because the Clinical Record Initiative will lend itself to an EHR format, data mapping of all completed forms will be done so that EHR vendors can apply to develop an electronic record that will be certified as compliant with NYSCRI requirements. This part of the process is due to be completed in September 2010.

In news last week, eleven healthcare organizations in New York State were awarded $109 million in two year state grants to coordinate healthcare using health IT. The funding was provided by the New York State Department of Health and the Dormitory authority of the State of New York (DASNY) through Phase 17 of HEAL NY and the Federal State Health Reform Partnership. The healthcare organizations will connect to the statewide Health Information Network for NY so that the providers can retrieve, store, and share up-to-date patient information.

Most of the organizations received funds that ranged from $3.8 million to $20 million to support projects to advance the Patient-Centered Medical Home model of care. Most of the funds are going to help the state deal with mental disorders such as affective disorders, major depression, schizophrenia, psychotic disorders but several of the organizations will also address chronic illnesses such as diabetes or other metabolic diseases.

For a list of the organizations that received grants through Phase 17 of HEAL NY, go to Go to to download the 2010 Draft “New York Statewide Comprehensive Plan for Mental Health”.