February 20, 2018

Santa Cruz County Utilizes Carequality Interoperability Framework to Connect Behavioral and Physical Health to Achieve Whole-Person Care

Netsmart Media Contact:
Vince Koehler

Overland Park, Kan., Feb. 20, 2018 – California’s Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency (HSA) announced a new initiative to integrate behavioral health and physical health programs using the Carequality interoperability framework facilitated by its Netsmart electronic health record (EHR) platform. This connectivity allows for the search and exchange of vital clinical data in a patient’s health record, giving county providers the opportunity to drive forward care coordination and positioning them to achieve true whole-person care.

Carequality, an initiative of the Sequoia Project, is a public-private collaborative that helps providers share clinical data across multiple health information networks to improve patient outcomes. This community includes providers from across the entirety of the healthcare industry, who created an agreed-upon technical and legal framework to allow interoperability across electronic health record providers. The network creates a seamless exchange of patient health information across all participating networks. Netsmart is a founding member and live implementer of Carequality.

“Through connections like the Carequality framework, our more than 560,000 Netsmart EHR users can securely exchange data with tens of thousands of other healthcare providers and health systems,” said Netsmart CEO Mike Valentine. “This will help to improve the care coordination and outcomes for the millions of patients our clients serve. Increased connectivity and interoperability between health IT providers has the power to tremendously transform the approach to care across behavioral and primary care settings, allowing providers to take steps in the right direction to care for the complete person.”

Linking record systems between care communities is part of a countywide initiative to strengthen and enhance care coordination between mental health and physical health providers, which aligns with California’s whole-person care pilot program. The objective of the program is to coordinate care for a person’s full spectrum of needs in a patient-centered approach. The data exchange gives clinicians full access to a patient’s physical and mental health history to complete a more educated care assessment, reducing unnecessary tests and procedures as well as lowering total care costs and improving outcomes.

“For primary care to have access to behavioral health records is crucial to provide integrated care,” said Giang Nguyen, RN, MSN, agency director. “Our health agency, in partnership with Carequality, intends to diminish redundant tests and we expect to see a reduction of unnecessary use of services as well as improved overall outcomes with this new view into a patient’s history.”

Santa Cruz County’s behavioral health division uses the Netsmart platform to manage patient health records. The county’s clinic services division focuses on primary care and uses Epic Systems’ EHR solution, facilitated through the health information network, OCHIN. The county’s integration of primary care and behavioral health is part of a co-location program that will allow the county to have real-time access and the ability to integrate the data into the respective behavioral health and primary care EHRs.

“The Carequality framework allows our partners, including Netsmart, to advance interoperability across the country,” said Dave Cassel, The Sequoia Project’s vice president of Carequality. “The framework provides the legal teeth, technical standards and operational components that our partners need to break patient information out of silos. Enabling the seamless exchange of information is essential for collaboration and care coordination across care systems and settings.”

The new integration acts as a bridge to the county’s local health information exchange, which is also connected via Carequality, allowing greater access to patient information from additional providers. The county is leveraging this technology to enable on-demand access to clinical data, integrating behavioral and physical health, driving towards whole-person care.

“We are pleased that our counterparts in the clinic services division will now have access to a key component of a person’s complete health history,” said Santa Cruz County HSA Director of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Erik Riera. “No doubt, true holistic care includes considering both mental and physical health so that staff are empowered to make the right care decisions across all areas of health.”

Join us at #HIMSS18 in Las Vegas, March 5 – 9. Stop by and see Netsmart in booth #1917 and Carequality in booth #3374 to learn more about this data sharing initiative.

About Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency

The Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency exists to protect and improve the health of the people who live within Santa Cruz County. The agency provides programs in Environmental Health, Public Health, Medical Care, Mental Health and Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment. The Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency exists to protect the public health of Santa Cruz County and to help assure residents access to medical care and treatment. The ultimate goal of the Health Services Agency is healthy people living in healthy communities. HSA is responsible for promoting community health in the public and private sectors.

About Netsmart

Netsmart innovates electronic health records (EHRs), solutions and services that are powerful, intuitive and easy-to-use. Our platform provides accurate, up-to-date information which is easily accessible to care team members in behavioral health, care at home, senior living and social services. We make the complex simple and personalized so our clients can concentrate on what they do best: provide services and treatment that support whole-person care.

By leveraging the powerful Netsmart network, care providers can seamlessly and securely integrate information across communities, collaborate on the most effective treatments and improve outcomes for those in their care. Our streamlined systems and personalized workflows put relevant information at the fingertips of users when and where they need it.

For 50 years, Netsmart has been committed to providing a common platform to integrate care. SIMPLE. PERSONAL. POWERFUL.

Our more than 1,500 associates work hand-in-hand with our 600,000+ users in more than 25,000 organizations across the U.S. to develop and deploy technology that automates and coordinates everything from clinical to financial to administrative.

Learn more about how Netsmart is changing the face of healthcare today. Visit www.ntst.com call 1-800-472-5509, follow us on our CareThreads Blog, LinkedIn and Twitter, like us on Facebook or visit us on YouTube.

Netsmart is pleased to support the EveryDayMatters® Foundation, which was established for behavioral health, care at home, senior living and social services organizations to learn from each other and share their causes and stories.