Innovative Technologies Summit
On March 12, 2014, the North Carolina Practice Improvement Collaborative, in partnership with the Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services, and the Governor’s Institute on Substance Abuse, hosted the Innovative Technologies Summit at the Raleigh Convention Center. As the last of three meetings in 2013-14 under the banner, Improving Outcomes: Improving Lives, this meeting featured three speakers; an interactive showcase of 12 vendors of assistive technologies; and a five-person panel on adoption and implementation.
H. Westley Clark, M.D., J.D., M.P.H., Director, Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), gave the keynote address on Innovative Technologies: Improving Practice, Protecting Privacy. SAMHSA has a health innovative technologies (HIT) strategic initiative, supported by nine goals. SAMHSA currently funds East Carolina University for its project, Operation Reentry North Carolina: Veteran Resiliency and Reintegration Through Technology. To facilitate the integration of standards-based HIT within the behavioral health field, SAMHSA recently hosted three regional HIT conferences. Dr. Clark also addressed the challenges of privacy, confidentiality, and security.
Melissa Pinto, Ph.D., R.N., Assistant Professor, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Emory University, addressed benefits and concerns about the use of behavioral health technology (BHT); how BHT impacts the clinical relationship and care; the state of the science of BHT; and eSMART technology in her presentation, Evolving Role of Technology in Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities. She emphasized the growing importance of BHT in that 75% of patients identify one or more structural or psychological barriers to care and that access to care is more difficult for minority groups and individuals living in rural areas. Through BHT, patients will gain more access, consumers and insurance companies will pay less, additional flexibility will be added, consumers will be empowered, and consumers will receive continuing and integrated care.
Rodney Bell, Principal, ASSET (Adopting/Applying Systems, Software, and Engineering Technology) Consulting, presented on Technology for People with Cognitive Disabilities: The Promise, Pitfalls, and Push. He promoted the use of technologies for individuals with developmental disabilities through the web, smart mobiles, assistive apps, and residential supports. These technologies will change providers’ practice, consumers’ lives, and governance (e.g., waivers, reimbursement, ethics). Because technology is outpacing society and governance, there is a need for service providers to exercise caution and to always keep the end user in mind. Privacy and reimbursement are issues to be addressed as personal information needs to be secure and technologies need to be financially feasible. A workforce that is technologically competent, with corresponding job descriptions and salaries, must be developed and nurtured.
Aldona Zofia Wos, MD, Secretary, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services discussed the technology Initiatives of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. She spoke of the need to collaborate with industry to harness technology so it facilitates independent living and recovery. Secretary Wos asked the audience to identify what our constituents need, how to use the technologies, and how to fund them. To the LMEs-MCOs, she said, “What are you waiting for? Use the technologies to do the best that you can.” In addition, she promoted a statewide telepsychiatry initiative in emergency rooms and a pilot mobile technology project to combat childhood obesity. She concluded stating that she is open to all new projects and initiatives in behavioral health. Click here for a press release from Sec. Wos’s office about our Summit.
The interactive showcase on innovative technologies featured twelve vendors:
- ASI-MV and CHAT by Inflexxion – Tom Jackson and Mike Waldron
- Assistance Technology Works – Dawn Sowers, M.A.
- Coleman Institute for Cognitive Disabilities, University of Colorado – Rodney Bell
- GSTS Designs, LLC – Lance Hatfield
- North Carolina Assistive Technology Program – Sonya Clark
- PHIT for Duty – Paul Kizakevich and Randy Eckhoff, Research Triangle Institute
- Qualifacts – Dan Baron and Jenny Milose
- Simply Home – Allen and Drue Ray
- Smart Homes & Business – Jerry Tester, Whitney Hasson, and Erin Huddleston
- Assistive Technologies for Veterans – Kelly Ramsey, US Department of Veterans Affairs
- VGo – Lee Weinberg, MD and Mark Scheurlein
- Alcohol Comprehensive Health Enhancement Support System (A-CHESS) – Fiona McTavish, University of Wisconsin
Moderated by Flo Stein, a five-member panel discussed the Advancement and Opportunities for Technology in North Carolina. Panel members included:
- Kenneth Bausell, North Carolina Division of Medical Assistance
- Stephanie Gilliam, North Carolina Division of Health Service Regulation
- Tammy Koger, North Carolina Assistive Technology Program
- Sandee Resnick, North Carolina Resource and Regulatory Management
- Cindy Ehlers, East Carolina Behavioral Health LME-MCO
Members of the panel addressed the identification of current assistive technologies, barriers hampering the utilization of innovative technologies, regulations, funding resources and reimbursement, application, and recommended future steps to support innovative technology.
One hundred forty-two individuals, representing family members, state agencies, LME-MCOs, provider agencies, and universities, attended the event. Eighty-five respondents were asked to complete the question asking which technologies they would recommend for adoption. Smart home technology topped the list (21 respondents), followed by mobile apps developed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (15), A-CHESS (12), and telepsychiatry and other therapeutic extenders (8). Communication devices, electronic health records, PHIT for duty, myStrength.com, and VGo each received three mentions.
In order to prepare for the Summit, a resource handout was developed. This handout is included here as well as materials submitted by vendors. For the downloadable copy of each of the apps from the Department of Veterans Affair, here is the website. The Journal of the American Medical Association has recently published two opinion pieces on the use of online technologies and mobile apps in health. The first was cited by Dr. Clark and addresses the utility of online technologies. The second asks the question about the effectiveness of the new apps. Both may be downloaded directly from their site.
For additional information, please contact Leesa Galloway, LME-MCO Systems Performance, Community Policy Management, NC DMH/DD/SAS.
Presentations & Handouts from the Meeting
H. Westley Clark, M.D., J.D., M.P.H. – PowerPoint and video
Melissa D. Pinto, Ph.D. – PowerPoint and video
Rodney Bell – PowerPoint and video (begins at 42:00 minute mark)
Secretary Aldona Wos – video, with link to press release (see above)
Discourse SBIRT Flyer
VGo in the News
Innovative Technologies: Resource Handout
Mobile Apps released by the VA National Center for PTSD
NC Council Signs Agreement with myStrength.com
Software Advice Handout
The Fix – Recovery: There’s an App for That