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SAMHSA News - January/February 2005, Volume 13, Number 1

From the Administrator: High-Tech Options Expand Horizons

photo of Charles G. Curie, M.A., A.C.S.W., SAMHSA AdministratorThe benefits of information technology have taken hold all around us, from banks to grocery stores. To make sure these benefits extend to the health care arena as well, the Bush administration created the new Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology in April 2004 and called for a nationwide electronic health information network within the next decade.

This issue of SAMHSA News highlights some of the most exciting activities to date in the application of technology to the treatment of mental and addictive disorders. If we harness it wisely, technology can increase exponentially our capacity to reach many underserved populations, including rural clients, American Indian communities, youth engaged with the juvenile justice system, older Americans, and people who abuse prescription drugs.

Emerging technologies have the potential to transform the mental health service system, which is a key goal of SAMHSA's action agenda, informed by the President's New Freedom Commission on Mental Health.

At the most fundamental level, electronic access can benefit both the consumer and the provider of services. Consumers can access their own health care records and use them to help shape their own treatment. Providers can gain a more complete picture of their patients' overall health as well as better access to the latest research-based information.

Technology can also enhance service delivery by providing data on which treatments work best. Having access to consistent measures enables payers to assess quality of care and eliminate redundancy.

SAMHSA is developing an overall data strategy to standardize measurement of treatment outcomes and consolidate data across Agency programs, and is designing an electronic system for collecting and reporting substance abuse prevention and treatment service data from all SAMHSA-funded programs. The Agency is also examining questions raised by the new technologies, including issues of privacy, confidentiality, ethics, standards of care, and licensure.

SAMHSA is committed to exploring and refining all strategies that may help us move from today's health care information system to tomorrow's, with the goal of building resilience and facilitating recovery for all people with or at risk for substance abuse and mental illness. End of Article

Charles G. Curie, M.A., A.C.S.W.
Administrator, SAMHSA

See Part 1: Conference Explores High-Tech Treatments

See Part 2: Conference Explores High-Tech Treatments

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Inside This Issue

Conference Explores High-Tech Treatments
Part 1
Part 2
Related Content:
From the Administrator: High-Tech Options Expand Horizons
E-Glossary and Resources

A Decade of Progress: Dare To Act Affirms Vision

In Brief…
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McGovern Award for Leadership in Drug Abuse Prevention
Training Manual Released
Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Across Borders: Rebuilding Iraq
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Assistance to Iraq

Retailers Cut Cigarette Sales to Youth
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Retailer Violation Rates for 2003

Financing Health Care: Understanding Medicaid
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Teen Drug Use Continues Decline

SAMHSA "Short Reports" on Statistics


SAMHSA News - January/February 2005, Volume 13, Number 1

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