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Minnesota Mental Health & Chemical Dependency Providers


Have you ever wanted to communicate vital patient information to other providers and couldn’t? 


“I wish I knew John had gone to the Emergency Department. Maybe I could have told them something that could have prevented his hospital admission.”


“Sue seems really disoriented today and I know she has an appointment this afternoon with her psychiatrist. I hope I can get in contact with her prescriber to let her know she seems to be having difficulties so they are addressed.”


As a mental health and chemical dependency provider, you know how vital accurate, timely information is to ensure that the people you work with have the best-coordinated care. Providers in the community have experienced challenges in information exchange. We are also acutely sensitive to privacy concerns. 


As someone deeply concerned about access to appropriate care, I have searched for convenient solutions that would allow for sharing appropriate levels of information, with consent, among professionals. It is my ardent belief that with better information comes better care. 


I’m not selling anything, but I am trying to start a revolution.  A revolution where mental health and chemical dependency information informs the safety and quality of care a client experiences across the care continuum.


So, after much research and experience, and in an effort to educate and encourage our setting to stay relevant in an era of health care reform; I’m encouraging all behavioral health and substance abuse providers to acquire a DIRECT email address that will allow the safe, secure and private exchange of health information.


If we come together as groups of professionals, we can get discounts on costs and receive additional assistance in education and set up for this DIRECT address and its use in practice.  


We want to make this as simple and painless as possible. To get you started, we’ve pre-screened some vendors that provide this DIRECT service and who are willing to work with the unique needs of small and medium mental health/substance abuse provider groups. 


To guide you in choosing the vendor that’s best for you, here are a few suggestions:

•    If you do not have an Electronic Health Record (EHR), no worries. DIRECT works with and without EHR. It is kind of a baby step to get into the realm of electronic exchange of health information.  DIRECT is a two- way “push” of information, so you always know exactly what you are sending and where it is going. You can find information about vendors and sign up for a workshop about their product. That information is available here on the Vendors page.

•    If you currently use an EHR, start by asking your EHR company if they will help you set up a DIRECT address. If they seem puzzled by that request, ask for the name of their HISP (Health information Service Provider).  In Minnesota you need to use a state-certified Health Information Exchange Provider as your DIRECT vendor.  My organization MNBHN has vetted two DIRECT Vendors (MaxMD & Inpriva) who can be used by most EHRs as a HISP. You can find information about them on the Vendor Page

•    If you are part of a large organization for mental health, chemical dependency, or a social service provider, ask your IT manager how you can get a DIRECT address. Once you have your DIRECT address, it will be part of the national directory, and our site with provider addresses will be updated daily.

•    If you would like more information about DIRECT, feel free to contact me. I’m happy to chat or set up a free informational session for your practice.


Thank you for taking the time to learn about ways to better care for the people you serve.

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