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About Health IT in Jails

Health IT In Jails

Healthcare within correctional environments is not a topic that is well understood. What is even less well understood is the role of health information technology (health IT) in these environments. But across the United States, increasing numbers of local and county jails are exploring health information technology (HIT) solutions that can help them achieve more efficient and better coordinated care, significant health care cost savings, and improvements in both public health and public safety. In particular, they are implementing electronic health record (EHR) systems to replace their old paper-based record systems and are studying ways to create connectivity with community providers through options such as health information exchanges (HIEs).

Below are issue papers and articles written by COCHS staff and our partners. If you feel lost with all the acronyms that occur in any IT discussion, please consult Speaking the Same Language: Criminal Justice, Health Care, and Information Technology.

Jails and Health Information Technology: A Framework For Creating Connectivity

An underlying connectivity framework of three macro systems collects and communicates health care data about incarcerated individuals: jail management systems, jail health systems, and community health systems. Ideally, all three systems would communicate seamlessly.

connectivity framework: please click display images

But no jail serves as a model for connecting all three systems. Five case studies presented in this paper, detail how different jurisdictions have implemented or are attempting to implement various parts of this connectivity framework. It is intended that jurisdictions can learn from these case studies and use them as templates for their own connectivity efforts.

Ben Butler, COCHS

The Impact Of Policies Promoting
Health Information Technology
On Health Care Delivery In Jails And Local Communities

Ben Butler and Judy Murphy examine how decisions largely external to jails —coming from the Supreme Court, Congress, and local policy makers— have contributed to the growth of health IT within jails and health information exchange between jails and local communities (abstract only without subscription).

Ben Butler, chief information officer, COCHS.

Judy Murphy, deputy national coordinator for programs and policy at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, Department of Health and Human Services.

Predictive Analytics in Health Care and Criminal Justice: Three Case Studies

In this issue paper, Ben Butler, COCHS' CIO, examines three case studies where predictive analytics are being used to assist health care providers along with criminal justice professionals in reducing incarceration, improving health, and maintaining public safety. Read issue paper...

Implementation of an Electronic Health Record in the New York City Jail System

This paper details the implementation of an electronic health record system on Rikers Island.

Richard Stazesky, Jennifer Hughes, and Homer Venters, MD, of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

Technology and Continuity of Care: Connecting Justice and Health

At the end of 2014, Community Oriented Correctional Health Services (COCHS) received funds from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to develop nine case studies on data-sharing between the criminal justice and the health care sectors to promote continuity of care.

Passage of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act in 2009 spurred an unparalleled investment in the nationwide adoption of health information technology. One of the chief aims of HITECH is to improve coordination and continuity of care through data-sharing.

Criminal justice and behavioral health care providers, however, have been passed over by this technological wave. We developed nine case studies as a way to provide insights from a range of jurisdictions and organizations and inform data-sharing efforts in other communities.

Ben Butler, CIO COCHS
Nan Torrey, MA
Ben Watts, MBA
Daniel J. Mistak, JD
Leta Smith, PhD

Bridging the Gap
Improving the Health of Justice-Involved
People through Information Technology

This document is an executive summary of a meeting convened on September 17, 2014 by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in Rockville, Maryland. The meeting aimed to address the problems of disconnected justice and health systems and to develop solutions by describing barriers, benefits, and best practices for connecting community providers and correctional facilities using health information technology (HIT).

Chelsea Davis
David Cloud

A Roundtable Discussion: Criminal Justice and Health Information Technology: What are the next steps?

On September 14, 2012, COCHS held a roundtable discussion in Washington DC, to identify what key government agencies are doing to address the sharing of health information for justice-involved individuals, and what this might mean for the future as we move closer to Medicaid expansion.

COCHS' Staff

State Profiles of Health Care Information for the Criminal Justice System

A map of the United States that allows the user to explore how each state has implemented health information technologyd for the criminal justice population. This project was developed by the Legal Action Center through a grant by the Bureau of Justice Assistance.

How digital technology can reduce prison incarceration rates

This article from the Brookings' website examines how different technologies offer alternatives to incarceration. As bipartisan support for sentencing reform grows, technology can be the critical key to unlocking alternatives to long-term prison sentencing.

Darrell M. West