Professional Identification and Behavioral Health Providers

Well, I have finally done it. I have completed the state of Florida Psychology License Renewal form to change my license status to Inactive. After nineteen (19) years of not practicing, I think it is time.

While it may be time, it is not a simple matter. For me, as for many other professionals, a large portion of my personal identity is tied up with my education and my work. In spite of not having worked as a  psychologist for so many years, being a psychologist has continued to be a strong part of my identification of who I am. I think I have a reached a phase of my life where it is time for me to re-define that. I still have a great deal of work to do to figure out exactly how to do that re-definition.

In the meantime, I continue to be fascinated by the changes in the behavioral healthcare world and the challenges being faced by mental health provider organizations. Last week, I attended the Spring members meeting of the Software and Technology Vendors Association (SATVA) at the tail end of the National Council annual conference in Chicago. For the past couple of years, we at SATVA have been focused on the future interoperability of our products and the need to assure that exchanged EHR data will be secure and released in accordance with law and the desires of the person to whom the record belongs.

I was delighted to have the opportunity to observe two of my colleagues/competitors participating in a panel and demonstrating an exchange of patient data between their systems. The protocol that is being used for the exchange is designed to meet the requirements of 42 CFR Part 2, and may become a model for the exchange of all ultrasensitive patient information. SATVA plans to share the methods and protocol so other behavioral health EHR software vendors can implement the same protocol in their exchanges. Dennis Grantham, Editor-in-Chief of Behavioral Healthcare Magazine sums it up this way in his summary review of the conference.

  • Members of the Software and Technology Vendors’ Association, or SATVA, closing ranks around an EHR interoperability solution – a cloud-based Health Information Services Platform (HISP) – with a new twist: an interoperable Continuity of Care Document that allows for real—not simulated—interchange of “ultrasensitive” addiction treatment information. SATVA members argue that demonstrating compliance with federal 42 CFR Part 2 requirements electronically eliminates the technical barriers posed by compliance with a range of federal and state health-information protection laws that go beyond HIPAA requirements.
This is very exciting progress in the behavioral health EHR world. We who are SATVA members hope that other behavioral health software vendors will also use this protocol to speed the movement toward interoperable EHR programs.
And who knows, I may even find myself consolidating my professional identity as a software entrepreneur. Maybe it is time; we have been doing this business for twenty-seven years. I would love to have your suggestions about how to migrate my professional identification. Any ideas?

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