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J Subst Abuse Treat. 2012 Jul;43(1):12-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2011.10.010. Epub 2011 Dec 7.

Integrating information on substance use disorders into electronic health record systems.

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  • 1Clinical Trials Network, National Institute on Drug Abuse, The National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA.


For reasons of safety and effectiveness, many forces in health care, especially the Affordable Care Act of 2010, are pressing for improved identification and management of substance use disorders within mainstream health care. Thus, standard information about patient substance use will have to be collected and used by providers within electronic health record systems (EHRS). Although there are many important technical, legal, and patient confidentiality issues that must be dealt with to achieve integration, this article focuses upon efforts by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and other federal agencies to develop a common set of core questions to screen, diagnose, and initiate treatment for substance use disorders as part of national EHRS. This article discusses the background and rationale for these efforts and presents the work to date to identify the questions and to promote information sharing among health care providers.

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