For this Mental Health and Substance Use Counselor, HealthlinkNY is Key
While many of us tend to think of the benefits of accessing a patient’s full Health Information Exchange (HIE) record in a primary care or hospital setting, we may overlook the value it could have in mental health or substance abuse cases.
As an outpatient provider, Tom Rue of Choices Mental Health Counseling of Monticello, NY values HealthlinkNY’s ability to provide him with “…immediate access to information…” and the chance it gives him to provide more quality care. In fact, when first meeting with a patient, the first thing he does is ask them to sign a HealthlinkNY consent form, allowing him to view their medical record.
Tom is a board certified and licensed mental health practitioner and credentialed alcoholism and substance abuse counselor with over 25 years of experience, in private practice in Sullivan County.
For Tom, it’s all about coordination of care. Since he may not always be able to properly evaluate a patient’s condition, he says he “…considers coordination of care with other care providers even more important than if I were working in a large agency setting,” which he’s able to do through HealthlinkNY Alerts and the Web Portal.
The Benefits of HealthlinkNY Alerts and Receiving the Complete Patient Picture
As an advocate for improving holistic and comprehensive care for his patients, Tom says he has found that HealthlinkNY Alerts help him do that. “Real-time records available through the HealthlinkNY Web Portal improves the quality of care that I am able to provide,” explains Tom.
He added, “The alerting service is a wonderful feature with great clinical utility…” These alerts provide him with next-day updates on any changes to his patient’s medical records, which, compared to the alternative of skimming through his patients’ charts via the Web Portal every day looking for changes, saves him the valuable time.
Recently, Tom had a patient who was addicted to heroin, later had a recurrence, and found themselves in the Emergency Department from withdrawals. Through HealthlinkNY Alerts Tom learned about this recurrence and was able to increase treatment sessions with the patient.
Another time, he was treating a patient who had not disclosed a suicidal gesture that occurred a couple of months earlier, which landed them in the Emergency Department. Through the HIE, Tom was able to view this encounter, which he said: “…was clinically significant in assessing mental health condition.”
Another huge benefit he sees from using the HealthlinkNY HIE is the speed at which he is able to get a patient’s record. Before being able to log onto HealthlinkNY’s Web Portal, Tom would fax consent sheets and wait for responses either by fax, CD or paper, remarking that the old method was “…time consuming for me and wasteful of resources at both ends.”
Tom also uses HealthlinkNY’s Web Portal to gather demographic information when he is missing certain details like a DOB or insurance data.
In the field of mental health and substance abuse, as in the world of general medicine, HealthlinkNY can help foster care coordination and fill in the medical blanks allowing providers to offer a higher level of care to their patients.