Electronic Health Records and Radical Change!

Electronic Health Records (EHR) seem to be on the minds of most psychologists lately.  As the 1/1/2015 deadline for the Minnesota EHR Mandate arrived, the issue is being forced, and I, like many MPA members, are witnessing what feels like a flurry of email exchanges about the EHR mandate on our listservs.  So many questions, so many worries, so much energy — and so very many opportunities!

As a psychologist in private practice for the past 20+ years, I often find myself working with clients to help them find opportunity in whatever hardship they are facing.  For some clients, the hardships they are facing are tragic, and we work together to find hope within the darkness.  Sometimes, the hardships are about facing radical change to their own life situations because significant others have made choices outside of their control.  Perhaps this is finding hope within the darkness as well; although, often I find myself encouraging clients to actively seek the opportunities that such radical change inevitably presents.

I believe the practice of psychology is now facing radical change.  This radical change has been given to us, not by our own choosing, but by the changes to healthcare services brought on by the Affordable Care Act and HIPAA privacy and security rules.  Minnesota, being the great liberal state that she historically has been, is leading the country in this radical change with the 2015 EHR Mandate.  Minnesota is the first state in the country implementing an EHR mandate that will become a Federal requirement in a few short years.

Our challenge?  To find opportunity in the hardship that being first-in-line presents.  We have the opportunity to unite as a profession to clarify the risks presented by interoperable EHR in behavioral health settings, and to identify workable solutions.  We have the opportunity to work through the fear, worry and concern for the privacy of our clients and the security of their mental health records, and in doing so, move toward the other side of those fears.  We have the opportunity to work together to land on potential solutions that will work for all stakeholders.  I am confident that as psychologists we have the skill sets to make this happen.

Getting to solutions that will work for all stakeholders is a path filled with many additional opportunities.  I am witnessing previously silent psychologists stepping up to the plate and speaking!  I have to tell you, I am duly impressed with the energy and passion of psychologists in our state that I have witnessed in recent weeks.  The hope that is emerging from the darkness is that many more psychologists are beginning to take ownership of MPA in ways I have not seen in recent years.

As we move forward toward solutions, please remember that MPA does not exist as an entity outside of individual psychologists – outside of YOU.  MPA is an organization filled with psychologists who volunteer to work hard to make things happen for psychology in Minnesota.  And what I see happening now is psychologists finding energy and passion to move forward within times of radical change.  Step forward!  Get involved!  Add YOUR voice to the conversation about how we as a profession can thrive.  Let’s make things happen in our state.  YOU are MPA!

Robin McLeod, Ph.D., L.P., is the 2015 MPA President-Elect. She founded and owns a small private practice behavioral health specialty clinic with two locations: Woodbury and St. Paul.  You may email her at [email protected].  Her websites are:  http://www.cpwmn.com and http://www.cpspmn.com.

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