NextGen Information Systems, LLC.,a provider of healthcare information systems and connectivity solutions, announced today it along with its sister company, Mirth are successfully powering the first statewide behavioral HIE (health information exchange) in the nation; Behavioral Health Information Network of Arizona (BHINAZ).
Driven by healthcare reform, BHINAZ is a collaborative initiative comprised of community stakeholders, behavioral health providers, public agencies, the Health Information Network of Arizona and consumers. Its common goal spans composition and capabilities required for a secure data exchange system that enables Arizona’s behavioral health care providers to access vital healthcare information at the point of care. The primary purpose of the BHINAZ is to deliver healthcare information services securely, reliably and affordably to clinicians, consumers, state and Regional Behavioral Health Authorities, federal health agencies and communities throughout Arizona.
BHINAZ was the brainchild of a consortium of behavioral health providers who are customers of Topaz Information Solutions, an authorized NextGen® reseller and outsource partner that specializes in behavioral health and social services. Topaz, in partnership with NextGen Healthcare, applied their behavioral health expertise in building specific content within the technology platform to meet specific needs of behavioral health and social services organizations.
Leveraging NextGen® Ambulatory EHR, NextGen® Health Information Exchange (HIE) and Mirth® Connect, BHINAZ has created the legal and operational framework necessary to protect confidentiality while helping to facilitate data exchange and streamline the process for behavioral health providers to obtain and manage patient consent, specifically as it relates to exchanging patient information. As a result, BHINAZ will provide clinicians throughout the state with a longitudinal patient history at the point of care — this will make information available when and where it’s needed for medical care. This will allow providers to better understand an individual holistically thereby delivering the safest and most appropriate treatment recommendations.
Operating under an “Opt-in” Consent Management model, BHINAZ will ensure that data protected under Federal Law 42 CFR part 2 is not re-disclosed without proper consent. Within the NextGen EHR, customized behavioral health consent management templates were created by working collaboratively with BHINAZ to include required content management language and capture electronic signatures at the point of care. Using these templates, information will be sent to the NextGen HIE, which then dictates specifically what data a given provider can access within the EHR. By developing the robust consent management system, patients and clients have the option to choose if they would like their data to be shared with the rest of the closed network at each BHINAZ location. This type of consent model for behavioral health provides patients with additional options for sharing their health information and allows them to identify certain providers who can access more sensitive aspects of their health records through BHINAZ at the point of care.
Information of all types may be exchanged — continuity of care documents (CCDs), lab results, dictated reports, discharge summaries and scanned documents as well as other key reports. BHINAZ supports the ability to transmit real-time alerts directly to the EHR or via email. This information is critical for clients in crisis that require immediate case management and follow-up after receiving crisis services or visiting an emergency room.
“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,” said Laura Young, executive director, BHINAZ. “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. This will transform the way we can help patients in times of need.”
A key component to BHINAZ’s success is its ability to connect with all certified EHR systems, allowing for the sharing of information across multiple systems and organizations. This is in direct contrast to some health information networks that limit connectivity and services by requiring software from a specific vendor. Leveraging Mirth’s vendor-agnostic interoperability platform, BHINAZ can deliver real-time alerts to behavioral health providers about each patient and every emergency room visit. BHINAZ connects a broad array of health systems, users and applications, elevating the volume and value of information within the network while making comprehensive electronic health records possible.
“Traditionally, behavioral health care providers, primary care physicians and hospitals have maintained separate medical records for their patients, which can lead to difficulty when communicating relevant information and potentially, create gaps in care,” said Michael Lovett, executive vice president and general manager for NextGen Healthcare. “We are now bridging these gaps and pioneering new ways to help make behavioral health care safer and more efficient with our technology by fostering the exchange of critical patient information and meeting stringent Behavior Health Consent management requirements.”