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Healthcare IT News
(March 23, 2015)
The Colorado Springs Military Health System had some challenges when it came to providing connected care for its 172,000 beneficiaries. Caring for service members and their families is crucially important, of course, but there are some aspects of military health that are different from civilian care. For one thing, the structured nature of the Defense Department, especially its rigorous information security protocols, can lead to some hurdles to moving seamlessly across the care continuum.
(March 17, 2015)
Last week, in the first part of a two-part interview, CORHIO CEO Morgan Honea revealed how the state of Colorado has become a model for data exchange success, giving specific examples of how the HIE has led to better patient outcomes. IIn part 2 of the interview, Honea digs into the difficulties associated with successful heath information exchange, as well as the role the federal government has, and if vendors are keeping up with provider demands. Below are excerpts of that interview.
(March 11, 2015)
In the past several months, multiple studies determined that it was too early to draw conclusions from health information exchanges (HIEs) in the U.S., given that there really hasn’t been much evaluation yet on their effects. These reports, coupled with the fact that a number of statewide HIEs are close to shutting down, if they haven’t already done so, has led to a nationwide perception that as currently constituted, health information exchanges are not sustainable, and are “doomed.” In Colorado, however, the Denver-based Colorado Regional Health Information Organization (CORHIO) is doing its best to change that perception, and the results are speaking for themselves.
Healthcare IT News
(March 5, 2015)
The ability to access and communicate the right patient information, at the right time, in the right place, is critical. To illustrate this point, imagine an elderly woman, Betty, who lives alone and has two chronic medical conditions. She takes a number of medications and receives care from multiple specialists in addition to her primary care physician. Betty’s specialists try their best to send test results and notes to her PCP in a timely fashion, but sometimes it can take several weeks to process the information. In the interim, Betty misunderstands her doctor’s instructions. She takes her medications incorrectly, prompting an issue that leads her to call 911. Unfortunately, she has had three emergency department visits and two hospital admissions in the past six months. As this example illustrates, timely physician and provider communication are crucial to helping patients like Betty manage chronic conditions and avoid unnecessary hospital visits. Fortunately, the use of health information exchange and better technology can help to improve care coordination.
(March 2, 2015)
For coordinators at Professional Home Health Care (PHHC), a Boulder, Colo.-based home health agency serving more than 700 individuals across the state, tracking clients after they had been admitted into a hospital had become something of a game of hide and go seek. Since PHHC staff didn’t always know where their clients had been admitted, they would first have to call around to as many as eight different hospitals. After tracking them down, they then would have to make another series of calls to learn who would be responsible for their discharge. Once staff secured the discharge planner’s contact information, they had to make regular calls to check on their clients’ status, ask what treatments or medications the hospital was administering to them, and find out when they were expected to go home. “The entire process from start to finish took about 10 hours for every client,” says Alexis Bellinger, a care coordinator and registered nurse at PHHC. Everything about that process changed after PHHC, by means of a health information technology (HIT) challenge grant, joined a long term care transitions program offered by one of Colorado’s state health information exchanges (HIEs).