e-Health Advisory Committee Activities

The Minnesota e-Health Advisory Committee has been meeting for more than ten years. The committee membership is delineated in Statute, and only this year has behavioral health representation been added as an “alternate” non-voting position. MPA is honored to represent the needs and concerns of the mental health community.  The inclusion of behavioral health reflects the growing recognition of its importance in health reform. Minnesota is unique in having a mandate, passed in 2008, requiring all providers to have electronic health records by January 2015. Unlike the federal mandate, Minnesota includes behavioral health, social services, post-acute care, and public health, recognizing the need to capture a comprehensive view of patients. The e-Health Advisory Committee has worked in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Health to develop tools and standards to guide health providers in the acquisition and implementation of electronic health records. This work has been enhanced by a State Innovation Model grant awarded to Minnesota by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Funds obtained will be used to develop and test the Minnesota Accountable Health Model. Expanding what is included in an electronic health record is an important aspect of the grant.

This year, Minnesota’s e-Health Advisory Committee made the decision to focus on three particular areas regarding the electronic exchange of health information. Three work groups were formed including Health Information Exchange Oversight, Standards and Interoperability, and Privacy and Security.

The electronic exchange of information has become increasingly complex over the life of the Advisory Committee. A number of different models of exchange have developed, requiring additional work on governance and oversight specifications. These will include a streamlining of the oversight process and extending it to overlook exchange between separate HIPAA entities including Accountable Care Organizations.

The Standards and Interoperability workgroup is reviewing national standards for the Consolidated-Clinical Document Architecture (C-CDA) that will guide the way data is captured and how it is expressed in computer code. It will be following developments as preliminary rules for Stage 3 of Meaningful Use are released.

The Privacy and Security workgroup is developing resources for providers so that they can have a robust privacy and security compliance program. It will be developing a number of documents for use by providers including: an example of a Notice of Privacy Practices for Minnesota, a new Standard Consent Form, a Patient Notification Practices template, examples of a Business Associate Agreement and a Consumer Fact Sheet. This workgroup will also develop guides for a security risk assessment and a proactive monitoring process summary.

What Psychologists Need To Know:

  • The Minnesota Department of Health recognizes that there have been few resources available and expect psychologists to be planning actively for Electronic Health Records, but will not have sanctions for failure to meet the January 2015 deadline.  This will provide leeway for mental health providers to select and implement the product that is the best fit for their practice.
  • A decision-making toolkit and other aids are being developed to support psychologists in the adoption process.
  • Guidance for proactive monitoring to ensure greater security for client records is under development.
  • Having a proactive monitoring system to forestall security breaches before they happen will be especially important given proposed changes to Minnesota’s Health Records Act.
  • Legislation will be reintroduced to change Minnesota’s privacy and security requirements, reducing them to the national standard in HIPAA. Psychologists should be involved in ensuring appropriate privacy and security for our clients.
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