Joseph Conn reports:
Providers, electronic health-record developers and health information exchange operators are still waiting for new regulations or guidance on electronically handling highly sensitive behavioral health information.
A year ago, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration held a national listening session on possibly updating its rule that protects patients of federally funded drug- and alcohol-treatment centers.
The rule is seen by some as a barrier to interoperability of healthcare information systems, which could impair provider organizations from successfully transitioning from fee-for-service to outcomes-based reimbursements with population-health-based care-delivery mechanisms such as accountable care organizations.
Patient advocates, however, say patient consent, a key aspect of the law, is a much needed barrier to more liberal sharing of patient information to induce many otherwise reluctant behavioral health patients to seek treatment.
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