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Expanding Health Care Through Information Technology Solutions

Dr. Susan Boust, Medical Director of the Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska, and Michael Rice, Associate Director, presented the Second Annual Behavioral Health Information Technology Summit in October. Technology is changing the way we provide health care and opportunities for enhancing the provision of mental health care are astounding.

Last year’s Technology Summit identified three barriers in the provision of mental health care for Nebraska: education and clinical supervision, infrastructural administration and technical support, and service delivery. The summit this year addressed opportunities for collaboration among health care providers and payment providers to develop solutions for barriers to providing care through the use of health information technology. Creativity and a positive attitude will define our future successes!

Recognizing the shortage of mental health care providers, particularly in rural Nebraska regions, the challenge has been providing competent care in local communities in a timely manner. Technology is becoming a vital part of the solution to workforce shortage; however, challenges yet to be addressed through the use of health information technology include privacy issues and the absence of comprehensive reimbursement policies.

By keeping the consumer needs foremost and developing strong collaborative efforts among mental health care providers, the opportunities for strengthening Nebraska’s array of treatment and services becomes limitless. Adopting a seamless health information technology solution is a great opportunity for Nebraska to provide meaningful mental health care for our one in four families seeking service. As usual, we begin change by putting aside our established ways of doing business and become open to opportunities offering enhanced service for less cost. Change is difficult, but this is the right time to explore new options.