Towards True Behavioral Healthcare Integration, at HIMSS

Imagine my surprise when a RHIO here in NY called to ask if Foothold could be part of the HIMSS Interoperability Showcase at the HIMSS Annual Conference at the end of February! The reason this is so stunning is that HIMSS is widely known as the premier event for technology related to Medical Care – as in, physical healthcare. HIMSS has always been populated by the biggest hospital and doctors’ EHRs as well as hospital associations, Federal medical organizations, standards-setting bodies, and so on. Never has there been a Behavioral Healthcare presence to speak of – at least not on the vendors’ side.

Suffice it to say, we were flattered and eager. After all, integrating Behavioral Healthcare into the medical world is more and more becoming what we do, what we are known for, and how we are positioning ourselves to support our industry. It is our firm belief that mental health clinics, developmental disabilities programs, alcohol and drug rehab treatment centers, all of them, will have to find ways to partner, support, and integrate with the mainstream medical world. This is because the inexorable drive to increase the quality of care is beholden to the equally unforgiving math that underlies whether and to what degree we, as a nation, can afford to care for our citizens. How can we possibly provide better care when we can barely afford to provide the care we do now?

The answer, as many of you know, lies in Care Coordination and Interoperability. If a drug treatment program can intervene before an addict is admitted to the ER, if a mental health clinic can intervene before a low-level offender is carted off to jail, if we can simply get our re-hospitalization rates down…if we can do these things, then we can save the US taxpayer billions of dollars and still provide better care to the least fortunate among us. So, in many ways, the opportunity for a company like Foothold to participate in the HIMSS Interoperability Showcase is a kind of milestone, a checkpoint, along the way to creating a true Healthcare System, where providers coordinate their care and share their data. Needless to say we are thrilled to be a part of it on behalf of our clients.

By the way, this year’s showcase is around the Health Story Project. We will certainly let you know how it went.