Depression affects more than 400,000 (8%) of adult New Yorkers each year.
In September of 2010, the Fund for Public Health in New York (FPHNY) was awarded $9.9M on behalf of the NYC Health Department to help mental health clinicians effectively use electronic health records. The project is a collaboration between NYC Health Department Primary Care Information Project and the Division of Mental Hygiene. Funding is part of Phase 17 or “Heal 17” of the Health Care Efficiency and Affordability Law of New York.
While efforts are underway to help primary care doctors and specialists use health information technology, mental health clinicians remain largely disconnected from this network. Due to this fragmented system of care, patients with chronic medical and mental health conditions have poorer health outcomes and increased rates of hospitalization, leading to higher spending on health care. With support from HEAL 17, NYC REACH, a project funded partially by federal stimulus funding that is dedicated to increasing utilization of electronic health records, will extend electronic health records to mental health clinicians, automatically establishing a channel of communication between them and NYC REACH’s existing physician members. By being a part of this expanded network and able to access shared patient health information, clinicians will be better coordinated, integrated and equipped to quickly make informed medical decisions.
In addition to connecting mental health clinicians to electronic health records, funding from HEAL 17 will also support the development of patient portal technology, which will allow patients to have quick access to their electronic medical records, empowering them to be more engaged in the management of their health.