Mental health issues too often are the big news of the day. Behind the headlines, there are a lot of people suffering with mental health conditions. In fact, about 1 in 5 adults ages 18 or older (18.1 percent, or 43.6 million adults) had any mental illness (AMI) in the past year, and 4.1 percent (9.8 million adults) had serious mental illness (SMI), according to the 2014 report prepared for the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services. Interestingly, the percentages have remained stable from prior studies that started in 2008. While we are bombarded with examples of mental and behavioral-related breakdowns, there are initiatives and opportunities to improve the focus on holistic health which will improve health outcomes. It’s interesting that in Alaska, the Southcentral Foundation (SCF), an Alaska Native nonprofit health system, just won its second Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award for its “unique health care delivery system”. SCF provides a wide range of programs to address the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual wellness for about 65,000 Alaska Native and American Indian people. SCF’s needs assessment revealed a population dealing with high rates of child abuse and neglect, intimate partner violence, and social isolation. SCF redesigned its care delivery around these needs, integrating specialty services into primary care and reducing the number of standalone specialty services. This reimagination of resources enables SCF to deliver high-quality care at a low cost and to make huge inroads with the health wellness of the population. As a nation, there is plenty of room to improve the integration of mental and behavioral health into care delivery. A recent NEJM Catalyst Insights Council survey reports that 51% of Council members — a qualified group of U.S. executives, clinical leaders, and clinicians who are directly involved in health care delivery — consider their organizations’ mental and behavioral health services not very adequate or not at all adequate to meet the needs of their patient population. How EHRs Contribute to Holistic Health Initiatives One important component of a more thorough healthcare experience in the United States is the move toward the comprehensive health record (CHR), a term coined by Epic an industry leading EHR. While there are numerous HIPAA guidelines that must be followed regarding sharing mental health information, the bottom line is that complete care is extremely difficult to provide without access to a complete patient record. For more info on the HIPAA guidelines for mental health records, click here. The Federal government also is focusing on curbing the nation’s opioid crisis. President Trump’s proposed FY19 budget for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services stresses the need for the agency to make the opioid crisis a top priority. While HHS’ budget would be slashed by 21 percent, Trump would give the agency $10 billion in new discretionary funding for both the opioid epidemic and mental illness. This effort supports the expanded tracking and sharing of information about the full prescribing history of patients across state lines to help curb system abuse. It’s encouraging to see how data management and information sharing can lead the way toward helping to stop opioid abuse. Legacy Data Management Key to Complete Patient Record It makes sense that to expect better healthcare outcomes, there needs to be a focus on improving access to the complete patient narrative. Our HealthData Archiver™, is a solid, secure solution that seamlessly integrates legacy records into a searchable and simple to use format. Our solution is system neutral and can integrate records from most every other type of system. Does your organization have a legacy data management strategy to consolidate the numerous disparate systems that are hanging around in various states of use? Have you thought about what comes next in your data management strategy? Increase efficiency, contribute toward access to the complete patient record and alleviate your own headaches about outdated, vulnerable legacy systems. Call us. We’re ready to help you.