Intention to use behavioral health data from a health information exchange: Mixed methods study

Academic Article


  • Background: Patients with co-occurring behavioral health and chronic medical conditions frequently overuse inpatient hospital services. This pattern of overuse contributes to inefficient health care spending. These patients require coordinated care to achieve optimal health outcomes. However, the poor exchange of health-related information between various clinicians renders the delivery of coordinated care challenging. Health information exchanges (HIEs) facilitate health-related information sharing and have been shown to be effective in chronic disease management; however, their effectiveness in the delivery of integrated care is less clear. It is prudent to consider new approaches to sharing both general medical and behavioral health information. Objective: This study aims to identify and describe factors influencing the intention to use behavioral health information that is shared through HIEs. Methods: We used a mixed methods design consisting of two sequential phases. A validated survey instrument was emailed to clinical and nonclinical staff in Alabama and Oklahoma. The survey captured information about the impact of predictors on the intention to use behavioral health data in clinical decision making. Follow-up interviews were conducted with a subsample of participants to elaborate on the survey results. Partial least squares structural equation modeling was used to analyze survey data. Thematic analysis was used to identify themes from the interviews. Results: A total of 62 participants completed the survey. In total, 63% (n=39) of the participants were clinicians. Performance expectancy (β=.382; P=.01) and trust (β=.539; P<.001) predicted intention to use behavioral health information shared via HIEs. The interviewees (n=5) expressed that behavioral health information could be useful in clinical decision making. However, privacy and confidentiality concerns discourage sharing this information, which is generally missing from patient records altogether. The interviewees also stated that training for HIE use was not mandatory; the training that was provided did not focus specifically on the exchange of behavioral health information. Conclusions: Despite barriers, individuals are willing to use behavioral health information from HIEs if they believe that it will enhance job performance and if the information being transmitted is trustworthy. The findings contribute to our understanding of the role HIEs can play in delivering integrated care, particularly to vulnerable patients.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Cochran RA; Feldman SS; Ivankova NV; Hall AG; Opoku-Agyeman W
  • Volume

  • 8
  • Issue

  • 5