FAQ #7 - Advantages of Interoperability in Healthcare for Behavioral Health Clinicians

Healthcare Interoperability FAQ Series

FAQ #7: What are the advantages of interoperability in healthcare for behavioral health clinicians?


Interoperability in healthcare comes with a few key advantages, some significant advantages really. And particularly, for behavioral health. Well, I shouldn’t say particularly for behavioral health. It really is a major advantage for primary care as well. If you think about the challenges that a primary care doctor has when a patient presents, and that is typically the place they will present. Even if it’s a behavioral-health based issue of mental health, or substance abuse, social determinants of health, such as homelessness, the patient often presents in primary care. And if it’s a primary care issue or need, and they very well maybe, it’s often not simply that.
There’re often other significant factors in behavioral health, and social determinants of health, that are either underlying or exacerbated outcomes of any of the primary medical needs that they may have. And so, the ability now to engage other providers that specialize in the area of behavioral health, for example, being able to provide them with key information about this particular client and being able to coordinate that care around the information. You can see how a primary care doc would benefit enormously from being able to engage more easily, through interoperability, with other services, specialized services and behavioral health. And likewise, if behavioral health is working with a client, and it becomes apparent to them that there’s a real primary care issue here, or issues, then the ability for them to share information about that client is critical.
Even if you think about things like medications, making sure that there’s no conflict in medications between a primary care doc and that in behavioral health or psychiatry. This kind of information is critical in terms of care coordination and providing the most appropriate interventions and services for clients to improve their outcomes. In some cases, it could actually be lifesaving in terms of avoiding mistakes that can be made simply because of lack of information. Interoperability really helps resolve those kinds of issues.


Dr. Ralph Tarter

Dr. Weatherbee has spent decades working in education, behavioral health, public health, and more. He has experienced the unique challenges that exist in this field from multiple disciplines. His work in program evaluation lead him to create eINSIGHT to empower behavioral health service providers to improve client outcomes.