This issue's cover stories focus on information technology, a topic we cover in some form or another in every issue of Behavioral Healthcare. In fact, I am committed to having even more articles on IT in 2007.
Covering IT in behavioral healthcare certainly presents some challenges. For starters, we at Behavioral Healthcare realize that all of you are not at the same level of IT implementation. As Linda Rosenberg, president and CEO of the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare, noted in our March 2006 issue, “Some of our members are already up to their second or third iteration of a clinical health record, while others are just thinking about it.” Therefore, we try to provide articles that meet both ends of the spectrum—for those making the initial leap from paper to electronic, and for those ready to jump even further, into regional healthcare networks and advanced clinical automation tools.
Regardless of the topic, finding experts to discuss IT from a behavioral health perspective isn't easy. Oh, you can find plenty of experts and thought leaders to discuss IT in general healthcare, but when you are looking for behavioral health IT experts, the list grows uncomfortably short. Many of the experts in this field are those who know the available solutions best—those selling you software. To that end, we invite members of the Software and Technology Vendors' Association (SATVA) to routinely share their thoughts with you in our Views on Technology department. And whenever possible, we feature the thoughts of your peers in provider organizations.
We also realize that IT is a very complex topic, so we put ourselves in your shoes. We try to keep articles short, to the point, and solutions-oriented, and we try to limit the technologic jargon. You spend enough time trying to decipher payers' rules and regulations; we aim for our articles (particularly on information technology) to be a comparatively easy read.
Most of all, our IT coverage depends on your input. Let us know how we are doing, what we need to cover more, and what IT issues you find particularly challenging. You can reach me at (216) 391-9100, ext. 221, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Douglas J. Edwards, Editor-in-Chief