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University of Nebraska Public Policy Center

Chronic Mental Health: Improving Outcomes through Ambulatory Care Coordination–Southeast Nebraska Behavioral Health Information

The University of Nebraska Public Policy Center researched user adoption and clinical outcomes related to the development of the Electronic Behavioral Health Information Network (eBHIN). eBHIN is a health information exchange in Nebraska’s Behavioral Health Region V. Appropriate and timely care coordination contributes significantly to improved behavioral health outcomes for patients with chronic mental illness. This project demonstrated how health information exchange between rural and urban providers can improve ambulatory patient care coordination and safety across treatment settings.

Without electronic communication, behavioral health providers are unable to follow the entire treatment path of patients from mental hospitals, protective custody or crisis mental health holds to various providers in the urban or rural community settings. Waiting for services or medication adjustments increases the problems faced by people with chronic mental illness. Health information technology is believed to be critical for efficient implementation of behavioral health chronic care models. eBHIN creates timely access to patient information between and among the provider care team serving an individual with a mental illness. This, in turn, will improve the continuum of care by providing basic electronic information to coordinate patient care between behavioral health providers, primary care physicians, rural hospitals, and the emergency behavioral health system will improve the long-term health outcomes of individuals with mental illness.

Little is known how health information exchange among behavioral health providers improves care coordination, particularly for patients transitioning between inpatient and outpatient settings. The Public Policy Center researched the impact of eBHIN through three studies:

  1. Provider barriers to technology acceptance in the behavioral health setting
  2. Behavioral healthcare technology acceptance and adoption
  3. Impact of health information exchange on clinical outcomes

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