Annual Meeting Highlights
 DOI: 10.1176/appi.pn.2014.2b28
Facing the Future: HIT and Impending Changes to Psychiatric Care
Psychiatric News
Volume 49 Number 4 page 1


These sessions will help psychiatrists understand key issues in health information technology, such as privacy concerns, as well as learn more about telepsychiatry in small and large clinical settings.

Abstract Teaser

With rising interest in the use of electronic health records (EHR) and telepsychiatry, it is imperative that psychiatrists are aware of the latest issues concerning health information technology (HIT). To facilitate this, APA’s Committee on Mental Health Information Technology is sponsoring two sessions at the 2014 APA annual meeting to address recent topics concerning the growing use of HIT, as well as issues clinicians will likely face over the coming year.

Under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is authorized to spend nearly $30 billion to support the promotion and use of HIT. A subgroup of the National Health Information Technology Committee was formed to ensure requirements of the HITECH Act are executed and to address challenges related to privacy concerns, such as transmission of protected health information and encryption limitations of EHRs. These complex, rapidly evolving issues are vital to psychiatrists’ understanding of the current limitations of HIT and how privacy issues might impact patient care.

The symposium “Electronic Health Record Privacy Update 2014” will teach audiences about the latest and most relevant aspects of the national EHR policy, as well as pragmatic issues related to HIT privacy. Speakers also will discuss how health information exchanges and open-source software play a role in privacy concerns. The session will be chaired by Zebulon Taintor, M.D., and Robert Kolodner, M.D., with Glenn Martin, M.D., serving as discussant. It will take place Tuesday, May 6, from 9 a.m. to noon in Room 1A21 of the Javits Convention Center.

Beyond EHRs, the application of HIT to improve quality of care and expand the scope of psychiatric services has recently included the use of videoconferencing, or telepsychiatry, to facilitate mental health assessment and treatment. The ability to narrow the provider-patient gap and help extend the reach of psychiatrists in the field—vitally important given the critical workforce shortage facing psychiatry today—are among telepsychiatry’s noted benefits. But how can telemedicine be effectively integrated into clinical practice, and what are the most pressing needs facing psychiatrists who want to take advantage of this unique opportunity?

To address these and related questions, the Committee on Mental Health Information Technology will sponsor the workshop “Telepsychiatry—Updates and Opportunities for Psychiatrists and ACOs,” which will discuss key concepts in telepsychiatry and its potential use for both routine clinical practice settings as well as larger patient care organizations. The workshop will be chaired by Daniel Balog, M.D., and will be held Sunday, May 4, from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. in Room 1A19/1A20 of the Javits Convention Center. ■

Emily Kuhl, Ph.D., is the senior science writer in APA’s Division of Research.

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