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New behavioral health EHR program gets Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island funding

The grant allows Newport Mental Health to analyze trends and integrate multiple sources of data to address needs, improve outcomes and reduce costs.

Susan Morse, Managing Editor

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island has awarded Newport Mental Health a $422,000 Behavioral Health Quality Grant to help launch a new electronic health record program, including the addition of a population-data analyst.

The grant will allow Newport Mental Health to better analyze emerging trends and problems, integrate multiple sources of data, anticipate needs and prioritize goals for addressing those needs and closing gaps in care.

Newport Mental Health is the first behavioral health provider to receive this grant from the BCBSRI.

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WHY THIS MATTERS

The new grant is being launched to assist behavioral health providers in transitioning to a population health model that includes screening, progress tracking and outcomes reporting.

Recognizing the challenges in implementing effective population health management and reporting strategies within a behavioral health practice, BCBSRI is hoping to ease the transition for Rhode Island providers to high-quality, cost-effective behavioral healthcare.

Newport Mental Health is one of the founders of Horizon Health Partners, a community-based, statewide, comprehensive service network of nonprofit mental health organizations in Rhode Island.

All of HHP will use the new EHR system, but BCBSRI's grant will allow for Newport Mental Health's combined analysis of aggregate data across the Horizon Health Partners agencies and for the interoperability of real-time client information.

Data analytics from Newport's new initiative will be used to inform not only primary care and mental health interventions, but also community interventions as the data allows for a better understanding of patterns of chronic disease, social determinants of health, and community resources and services.

For example, NMH's data could identify a high prevalence of depression and poor eating habits among elderly women with residential and social isolation. Equipped with that data, community planners could then develop recreational and nutritional outreach programs.

THE LARGER TREND

In the future, the program has implications beyond the patient population served by Newport Mental Health's providers.

Horizon Health Partners has an additional 110 providers that plan to also use this population health data to improve care coordination and better manage the needs of a significant population of patients statewide.

ON THE RECORD

"Mental disorders are arguably the greatest 'hidden' burden of ill health, with substantial long-term impacts on individuals, careers and society. People with these conditions are often socially excluded and often do not receive the services they need, and when they do, many do not receive adequate follow-up," said Jamie Lehane, Newport Mental Health president and CEO. "Data science offers an unprecedented opportunity not only for more robust diagnostics, but also the prediction of outcome, treatment response, and patient preferences to inform interventions. Even slight improvements on mental healthcare provision and management could generate solid benefits to the health and life expectancy of people with mental illness and in the reduction of healthcare costs".

"We are encouraged by Newport Mental Health's proactive approach in analyzing available data to discover what's most effective when it comes to behavioral healthcare treatments," said Sarah Fleury, BCBSRI manager of behavioral health. "This type of value-based care and collaboration improves patient care and reduces the burden on the healthcare system, and we are proud to support it."

Twitter: @SusanJMorse
Email the writer: susan.morse@himssmedia.com