Care Coordination Improved by Email Alerts for Patients with Serious Mental Illnesses



Providers are beginning to use automated, real time alerts to keep them informed of important patient updates at the Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York. Given their known higher health care needs and prevalence within the Brooklyn area, patients with bipolar and schizophrenia were first chosen to pilot this secure email alert system. Alerted health care events such as inpatient admissions/discharges, emergency department admissions/discharges, psychiatric admissions/discharges, or death were included and prompted providers to coordinate care quickly.

“Beyond the benefits of coordinating care between disparate systems and providers, as an individual physician,

I now have a greater sense of where my patients are. Having that information is incredibly powerful.”

                                                                                                                Kishor Malavade, M.D.

Since its inception, the system has enrolled more than 5,000 patients and has prompted more than 10,000 alert messages. Maimonides’ psychiatrist Kishor Malavade, M.D. expressed the benefits of this tool and stated:

“Just because I get a text message alert on my phone doesn’t replace the fact that I need to

communicate with my colleagues and the patient. These alerts are great, but they’ll never

be as robust as in-person conversation.”

Plans to expand the program include provider alerts for patients with other chronic illnesses and within home health organizations to improve care coordination.

Funding for the Brooklyn Health Information Exchange (BHIX) program was provided by a 2009 New York State Health Care Efficiency and Affordability Law (HEAL) grant with the intent of improving care coordination within the patient-centered medical home and home health services. More generally, health information exchange (HIE) includes the electronic exchange of health care information to improve communication and care while reducing cost.


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