It doesn’t take a tornado to disrupt opioid treatment—public transportation strikes or an office closing for the holidays can require patients to seek treatment at other OTPs. Even planned disruptions, like a trip to visit family, require resource-intensive cooperation between the originating OTP, the receiving OTP, and the patient. SAMHSA recognizes that secure and timely health information exchange between OTPs as well as empowering patients to control access to their treatment data are both essential to supporting recovery.
To minimize the effects of these service disruptions, both planned and unplanned, SAMHSA funded an Opioid Treatment Program Service Continuity Pilot (OTP SCP I) in 2015. This pilot demonstrated that it is possible to create a patient-controlled health information exchange between OTPs that is compliant with federal and state laws. Encouraged by the success of the pilot, SAMHSA announced a second year of the project in January 2016, and is pleased to announce that Arizona Health-e Connection (AzHeC) has been awarded funding to continue building on lessons learned from the pilot in OTP SCP II.
Starting in May, AzHeC will work with three Arizona-based behavioral health organizations—Valle del Sol, Southwest Behavioral & Health Services, and Maricopa County Correction Health Services—to design and implement health information exchange among four of the organizations’ OTPs. In addition to developing the technology to support the secure and timely exchange of treatment information, AzHeC will also create accompanying trainings for providers and educational materials for OTP patients. We anticipate that the lessons learned from OTP SCP II will be of great interest to the medication-assisted treatment field, and behavioral health providers and technology developers more generally.
SAMHSA looks forward to working with AzHeC and to sharing the results from OTP SCP II in the fall.