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Creating Quality, New Journal Issue from NRI Focused on Electronic Health Records

July 11, 2019

NRI division of performance and quality improvement initiates a new journal, Creating Quality. The inaugural issue, April 2019, focuses on electronic health record technology and use for performance measurement in psychiatric hospitals. Three articles from NRI researcher delve into the status of using Electronic Health Records (EHR) for transitions of care and where interoperability fits in this picture, using public use files from CMS; plans for changing EHR technology in state psychiatric hospitals based on a survey conducted by NRI with the NASMHPD Medical Directors Council; and the fundamental differences between abstraction and extraction of medical records to get to the nuggets that are used for performance measures.

The importance of clinicians’ involvement in building and refining systems that are the evidence of their work cannot be understated. It is re-connecting the data bytes to the context that is  the vital step needed to inform the quality of care and engage the clinical staff in quality improvement. Read the full journal.

Implementation Status of Electronic Health Record (EHR) Systems in State Psychiatric Hospitals

June 27, 2019

Electronic health records continue to be a driver for operational change at providers. The uptake of EHRs at state psychiatric hospitals was recently investigated by NRI researchers. Forty-one states have an EHR in their state operated psychiatric hospitals, although no state has an EHR that was all-inclusive in terms of components. A consumer report based on a survey of all states is available now on the NRI website. Read the full report.

NRI Welcomes New Board Members

June 13, 2019

On April 26, the NRI Board of Directors elected three new board members: 

  • Barbara Bazron, Ph.D., (MD),NASMHPD BOD Northeastern Representative MD Deputy Secretary, Behavioral Health
  • Judy Fitzgerald (GA), Commissioner of the Georgia. Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) 
  • Katherine Warburton, M.D. (CA), Medical Director at California Department of State Hospitals

The Board also elected Ann Sullivan as Secretary and re-elected Linda Zeller as Vice President, and Miriam Delphin-Rittmon, Ph.D. and Matt Salo as Members-at-Large. See all NRI Board of Directors.

The Role of the Criminal Justice System in Reducing the Duration of Untreated Psychosis

May 30, 3018

On June 18, David Shern, PhD, president of NRI's Board of Directors and Senior Public Health Advisor at NASMHPD will present a webinar about the Role of the Criminal Justice System in Reducing the Duration of Untreated Psychosis. 

This SAMHSA sponsored webinar will show how members of the criminal justice system can support recovery of people experiencing FEP through effectively linking them to evidence-based treatment and services. This webinar builds on a Technical Assistance guide the NRI commissioned under a FY18 State TA Contract from SAMHSA. The report was written by the group presenting this webinar.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

2019 marks the 70th anniversary of Mental Health Awareness Month. Its purpose is to raise awareness and educate the public about: mental illnesses, such as the 18.1% of Americans who suffer from depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder; the realities of living with these conditions; and strategies for attaining mental health and wellness. It also aims to draw attention to suicide, which can be precipitated by some mental illnesses. 

Mental Health Awareness Month resources from various organizations are available in the Helpful Resources section.

SMI Adviser: A Clinical Support System for Serious Mental Illness

May 2, 2019

More than 10 million adults in the U.S suffer from serious mental illness (SMI) each year. The mission of SMI Adviser is to advance the use of a person-centered approach to care that ensures people who have SMI find the treatment and support they need. For clinicians, SMI Adviser offers access to education, data, and consultations so you can make evidence-based treatment decisions. Take advantage of these completely free services and features:

  • All mental health professionals – psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses, social workers, psychologists, counselors, and peer specialists – can request consultations from national SMI experts.
  • Access CME/CNE/CE-certified online courses on a variety of topics related to SMI.
  • Use a searchable Knowledge Base with hundreds of clinical questions and resources on SMI.

NRI and NASMHPD are a part of the 30+ national mental health organizations that help guide SMI Adviser, which is funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and administered by the American Psychiatric Association (APA). Visit to learn more about this innovative initiative.

Civil Commitment and the Mental Health Care Continuum

April 18, 2019

Civil Commitment and the Mental Health Care Continuum traces the history of commitment law and practice in the United States, up to the present day-- both inpatient commitment and commitment to services in the community. The paper addresses the ethical questions that inevitably arise when a third party or the state acts to secure treatment for an individual against the individual's wishes. It concludes with guidelines for policy makers, practitioners, and administrators responsible for reforming or implementing commitment laws and systems.

SAMHSA commissioned this paper after conducting a day long "expert panel" on civil commitment law and practice, in March 2018. The panel was assembled at the recommendation of the ISMICC: Interdepartmental SMI Coordinating Committee. This was a committee mandated in the December 2016 Twenty First Century Cures Act. 

Shortening the Duration of Untreated Psychosis

April 4, 2019

The article, "Shortening the Duration of Untreated Psychosis, Implications for Law Enforcement & the Sequential Intercept Model at Intercepts 0-1," was recently published on the Policy Research Associates' Website. Written by Leah Pope, Ph.D., Senior Research Fellow at the Vera Institute of Justice, and David Shern, Ph.D., Senior Public Health Advisor at NASMHPD and NRI's Board President, the article discusses how the Sequential Intercept Model can be used to understand how people experiencing mental health crises come into contact with, and move through, the criminal justice system.

Through a contract with SAMHSA, NRI and NASMHPD supported the development of the Issue Brief, "Measuring the Duration of Untreated Psychosis within First Episode Psychosis Coordinated Specialty Care."

First Coordinated Specialty Care for First Episode Psychosis

This is the third in a series about First Episode Psychosis. Part one is available here. Part two is available here.

The Northeast Ohio Medical University's Best Practices in Schizophrenia Treatment (BeST) Center developed the FIRST Coordinated Specialty Care (CSC) Program to serve individuals who have recently experienced their first episode of psychosis (FEP). FIRST programs are available throughout the State of Ohio and in Illinois. The BeST Center's website provides information about the CSC approach to care, outlines the eligibility criteria for individuals best for the program, highlights the importance of family participation, and provides a list of service locations throughout Ohio.

Since 2014, NRI has collaborated with NASMHPD and SAMHSA to develop a series of informational materials related to FEP. More info available here.

First Episode Psychosis: Early Psychosis and the Early Assessment and Support Alliance (EASA)

March 21, 2019

This is the second in a series about First Episode Psychosis. Part one is available here

Oregon’s Early Assessment and Support Alliance (EASA) provides services and support to young adults, ages 12 to 25, experiencing symptoms of psychosis for the first time. EASA serves people for up to two years, and includes a team of counselors, case managers, occupational and supported employment/education specialists, medical staff, and family education and mentorship. Currently, EASA programs reach 32 Oregon counties. 

Oregon has supported an EASA Center for Excellence that is part of OHS-PSU School of Public Health that has an large collection of materials about first episode psychoses, including information and videos for young adults experiencing psychosis, for their families and allies, and training materials for behavioral health professionals.  The EASA Center of Excellence is also working with other states to help them implement FEP services. Learn more.  

Since 2014, NRI has collaborated with NASMHPD and SAMHSA to develop a series of informational materials related to FEP.  More info available here.

OnTrackNY Psychosis Treatment Program 

March 7, 2019

New York State's OnTrackNY provides Coordinated Specialty Care services for adolescents and young adults experiencing a first episode of psychosis (FEP). Through their website, young adults, families and providers can locate the 21 service centers across the state. In addition to locating services, a variety of resources are available for young adults, family members, and providers. The website also showcases success stories, which includes a video library featuring OnTrack participants, graduates, families, and providers.

Since 2014, NRI has collaborated with NASMHPD and SAMHSA to develop a series of informational materials related to FEP.  More info available here.