Communal Themes Between Behavioral Health and General Healthcare – #NatCon16

Instead of getting a break after HIMSS, I’m doing back to back conferences as I attend the National Council for Behavioral Health’s NatCon Conference in Las Vegas. If you’re following along at home, the twitter stream for the event is #NatCon16 and is full of a ton of gems from the conference.
Chris Matthews and John Lynn at NatCon
Today I got the chance to hear and meet two of the keynote speakers: Chris Matthews and @KevinMD. Chris Matthews provided a lot of great insights into the political environment and a lot of amazing insider stories. My biggest takeaway from his talk is that we’re stuck in a massive quagmire and I don’t see much of that changing in the future. Presidential candidates can make all the promises they want, but they mean nothing if they don’t have the political support and finances to pay for it. @KevinMD was great to meet and hear talk about the benefits of using social media. Of course, he was mostly preaching to the choir for me. However, I’m sure that his comments were extremely eye opening for many in the audience.
KevinMD and John Lynn
Besides these two keynotes, I attended a few different sessions in the tech track of the conference. The most surprising thing to me was how similar these sessions were to any sessions you might have in any healthcare IT conference. This wasn’t really shocking, but it was a surprise that the messages and challenges were so much the same. Here are a few examples:

Third Party App Integration with EHRs
In one session, the vendors were talking about their inability to integrate their behavioral health apps into the various EHR software. They all said it was on the roadmap, but that there wasn’t an easy way for them to make it a reality. One of them appropriately called for EMR customers to start demanding that their EHR vendors open up their systems to be able to integrate with these third party apps.

Fear of Social Media
I usually find at conferences that this breaks out into two groups. One group loves social media, embraces it and benefits from it. The other group is totally afraid of the repercussions of using it. @KevinMD offered some great insights on how to overcome this fear. First, don’t say anything on social media that you wouldn’t say in a crowded hospital hallway. Second, start by using something like LinkedIn or Doximity which is a more private type of social media and are both professional networks. The real key I’d suggest is that you should own your brand. Don’t leave your brand image up to other people.

Business Models
There was a lot of discussion around various uses of technology in behavioral health and the need for the business models to catch up with the technology. Many would love to use all these technological advances, but they aren’t sure how they’re going to get paid for doing so.

I’m sure I could go on and on. I know that many in the general medical field look at behavioral health as a totally different beast. No doubt there are some differences in behavioral health, but I think that we’re more alike than we are different. Looking forward to learning even more over the next two days.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference,, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.