How health plans promote health IT to improve behavioral health care.


OBJECTIVES Given the large numbers of providers and enrollees with which they interact, health plans can encourage the use of health information technology (IT) to advance behavioral health care. The manner and extent to which commercial health plans promote health IT to improve behavioral health care is unknown. This study aims to address that gap. STUDY DESIGN Cross-sectional study. METHODS Data are from a nationally representative survey of commercial health plans regarding administrative and clinical dimensions of behavioral health services in 2010. Data are weighted to be representative of commercial managed care products in the United States (n = 8427; 88% response rate). Approaches within the domains of provider support, access to care, and assessment and treatment were investigated as examples of how health plans can promote health IT to improve behavioral health care delivery. RESULTS Health plans were using health IT approaches in each domain. About a quarter of products offered financial support for electronic health records, but technical assistance was rare. Primary care providers could bill for e-mail contact with patients for behavioral health in about a quarter of products. Few products offered member-provider e-mail, and none offered online appointment scheduling. However, online referral systems and online provider directories were common, and nearly all offered an online self-assessment tool; most offered online counseling and online personalized responses to questions or problems. CONCLUSIONS In 2010, commercial health plans encouraged the use of health IT strategies for behavioral health care. Health plans have an important role to play for increasing health IT as a tool for behavioral health care.

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@article{Quinn2016HowHP, title={How health plans promote health IT to improve behavioral health care.}, author={Amity E. Quinn and Sharon Reif and Brooke Evans and Timothy B. Creedon and Maureen T. Stewart and Deborah W. Garnick and Constance M. Horgan}, journal={The American journal of managed care}, year={2016}, volume={22 12}, pages={810-815} }