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Behavioral health scores in the Davies Awards

November 1, 2006
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HIMSS recognizes two behavioral health IT efforts

When it comes to information technology, behavioral health rarely outshines its peers in other areas of healthcare. But last month, the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) announced that two behavioral health—related organizations were among the winners of the 2006 Nicholas E. Davies Awards of Excellence: the Center for Behavioral Health (CBH) in Bloomington, Indiana, and the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS).

Since 1994 the prestigious Davies Awards, named in honor of a physician committed to improving patient care through better health information management, have recognized excellence in the implementation and use of health information technology. Until now only one other behavioral health organization has been a Davies Award recipient.

In this year's Davies Awards' Organizational category, CBH was recognized for its customization of software programs to meet its clinical, financial, and research needs. Among the software programs CBH uses is PsychConsult by Askesis Development Group and InfoScriber by Netsmart Technologies. Dennis P. Morrison, PhD, CBH's CEO and a member of Behavioral Healthcare's Editorial Board, credits his staff for their hard work on their IT system, and he urges other behavioral health organizations to tap into "unknown talent" of staff members with a passion for healthcare information technology.

"We congratulate our member, the Center for Behavioral Health, on receiving the prestigious Davies Award for EMR-EHR implementation. The Center's customization of technology to meet its clinical and financial needs and measure outcomes is a model for the behavioral healthcare industry," says Linda Rosenberg, MSW, president and CEO of the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare. "This accomplishment certainly reflects the commitment that all community providers have toward innovative use of technology to better serve patients with complex health needs."

"In winning the Davies Award, the Center for Behavioral Health draws attention to the special challenges of EHR implementation for behavioral health organizations," adds Tom Trabin, PhD, MSM, executive director of the Software and Technology Vendors' Association (SATVA). "CBH demonstrates how a talented and committed treatment provider organization can refine their work flow and their EHR software to derive tremendous value for their organization and the consumers they serve."

In the Public Health category, DSHS was recognized for its Behavioral Health Integrated Provider System (BHIPS), an online tool used by counselors to conduct screenings, build treatment plans, and track progress for those receiving substance abuse treatment.

"We are honored to be recognized by HIMSS for our electronic health record, BHIPS," says Dave Wanser, PhD, the department's deputy commissioner and president/chair of the National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors (NASADAD). "Implementing this system across the public provider system in Texas has helped streamline clinical and business processes, and actually improve client outcomes. The hard work of our employees and contractors, and the close partnership with providers, have been the key ingredients for success."

Each winner's detailed application for the Davies Awards is available online. CBH's can be found at, and DSHS's application is at The recipients will share their stories at the 2007 Annual HIMSS Conference and Exhibition, and Behavioral Healthcare also will provide more details on their IT programs in an upcoming issue.

In 2001, Heritage Behavioral Health in Decatur, Illinois, was the first behavioral health organization to win a Davies Award (at that time presented by CPRI-HOST). An overview of Heritage's IT program is in the January/February 2002 issue of Behavioral Health Management (page 32).