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Grant Will Help Nevada Doctors Access Mental Health Records

Alexa Ard

Doctors in Nevada must often rely on phone calls and faxes to get patient records, a spotty process that can take days. With help from a federal grant, the state's mental health system will soon be able to share that kind of information electronically among multiple providers. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss has more.

The $100,000 grant will allow Nevada to connect its mental health system to an information exchange program called HealtHIE Nevada. With patient consent, a variety of healthcare providers including emergency room doctors, pharmacists, and primary care physicians will have access to mental health records when they are making important treatment decisions.

"If I'm dealing with a patient that has a history of depression or a history of drug and alcohol abuse," said Erick Maddox, who directs HealtHIE Nevada, "the way that I manage that patient's pain is going to be impacted by the knowledge that the patient has a history of behavioral health issues."

Maddox was speaking with our public radio partner KNPR in Las Vegas. He says that right now, doctors are often relying on the patients themselves for critical information, when in many cases, patients either don't know or won't volunteer those details.

NOTE: This story was produced with information from a recent interview by our public radio partner KNPR in Las Vegas.

Michelle Billman is a former news director at KUNR Public Radio.
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