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Technology continues to ingrain itself into health and human service fields

By Brad Contento, corporate communications, CARF International

Brad ContentoTelecommunications and data management technology has unavoidably made its way into healthcare industries because it can increase consumer access to services and providers’ ability to provide them. Consider the patient in a comprehensive inpatient rehabilitation program who may want to consult with a specialist in another organization, an executive team looking to engage employees across a multi-county or multi-state service area, or a provider looking to expand the accessibility of a limited number of licensed professionals. Assuming they can successfully be funded, technological solutions may address these types of needs.

We recently published a Promising Practices article titled, Rural behavioral health agency uses technology to enhance service delivery and operations ( - Downloads as a PDF). The article outlines the technology program at Integrated Family Services, PLLC that received exemplary recognition in a recent CARF survey report. This program includes the use of technology to deliver services, gather feedback, and improve efficiency of organizational communications. It represents practices that are becoming more and more necessary for organizations to position themselves for the future.

Of course, incorporating technology into care and business models may pose unique challenges for providers. Deciding when the use of technology to deliver services is appropriate, training personnel and consumers to safely and effectively use equipment, ensuring privacy and accessibility, and addressing what happens in the event of an emergency are among the key considerations for use of technology. Many providers are successfully incorporating technological solutions, which is why we have made an effort to highlight practices related to this topic in the Promising Practices newsletter series. The Promising Practices newsletter showcases practices that received exemplary recognition on a CARF survey report (view past issues or subscribe at:

In addition to the previously mentioned issue featuring Integrated Family Services, the following articles highlight other successful uses of technology to improve business practices or service delivery. The Promising Practices newsletter series aims to highlight practices in such a way as to provide tips and ideas that can be implemented elsewhere.

  • Document management system allows employees to access policies, trainings, and data anytime, anywhere (PDF)
  • Behavioral health provider uses innovative IT solution to connect its multiple locations (PDF)
  • COPE bridges the data gap in opioid treatment outcomes (electronic health records) (PDF)
  • Cutting-edge techniques for gathering input lead to transformational changes (PDF)

Note: In 2015, CARF developed accreditation standards for information and communication technology, which can be found in section 1.J. of the standards manuals. Implementing these standards can help a service provider plan for the use of technology and integrate it into sound service delivery practices.

(Aging Services,Behavioral Health,Employment and Community Services,Child and Youth Services,Medical Rehabilitation)

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