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Timely Information Exchange Between Primary Care and Behavioral Health Improves Care Coordination

October 24, 2019

To: All Providers

Timely exchange of health information is essential to providing safe, coordinated and cost-effective patient care.  The 2019 online information exchange surveys were distributed to primary care providers (PCP) and behavioral health providers (BH). The results identified opportunities for improvement in frequency, timeliness, and process for information exchange.

Primary care providers reported:

  • Compared to 2018, BH providers are more likely to provide notification of services when patients are treated than urgent care, emergency room and specialists.
  • Medications continue as the most frequent information shared by BH providers.
  • The majority of clinical information shared by BH providers is via fax and mostly adequate for treatment or follow up.
  • About 90% use Medent (EHR), 62% utilize HEALTHeLINK and 39% share information 1 to 7 days after an office visit.

Behavioral health providers reported:

  • Notifications of services are “never received” or “not applicable” when patients are treated for BH issues in the hospital, urgent care, emergency room or by a specialist.
  • Since 2017, marginal improvements are seen in information sharing between PCPs and BH providers.
  • PCPs share clinical information via fax or phone, and that information is adequate for treatment or follow up by BH providers.
  • About 48% don’t use an EHR, 52% don’t utilize a health information exchange. On average, 56% share clinical information via phone/fax and within 7 days (35%) of an office visit.

How PCPs and BH providers improved health information exchange:

  • Integration of BH services
  • Warm hand-off phone calls
  • Clinical information sent with referrals
  • Patients educated about benefits of  signing consents for exchange of clinical information
  • Establishment of provider relationships

Information exchange policy

Please see > Policies & Guidelines > Office Administration Guidelines.

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