Boulder County Community Celebrates Launch of Health Information Exchange

Date: October 12th, 2011Category: CORHIO e-NewsletterTopics: HIE

Community Leaders Praise Efforts to Reach Milestone, Look Forward to Improving Population Health

Nearly 100 health care and community leaders gathered at Boulder Community Hospital on September 27 to celebrate the official launch of health information exchange (HIE) in Boulder County. By connecting the clinical information technology systems of both Alpine Urology and Boulder Community Hospital, patient data is now being used for clinical decision-making and patient care.

“This is truly a milestone,” said Cindy Domenico, Boulder County Commissioner. “It’s a celebration of a vision that was articulated in 2007 in a joint effort between the Community Foundation and the Boulder County Commissioners, but it was CORHIO that made it happen. The Boulder County community has always been supportive of efforts toward making our health care system work better as an integrated network.”

A 'Watershed Event'

Dr. David Ehrenberger, chief medical officer at Avista Adventist Hospital, agreed that the launch is a “watershed event.” Due to the unprecedented collaboration between CORHIO and Boulder County, Ehrenberger believes that the effort with the HIE is among the best in the nation.

Alpine Urology physician James Clark, MD, explains, “At the present time, we’re able to get information about a patient from either a laboratory or a hospital, which can be immediately accessed and reviewed, and put into the patient’s chart in a timely fashion. We no longer have to worry about trying to track down patient information or scanning in documents. It’s a terrific system and I’m looking forward to seeing what the future holds.”

Physician practices that are connected to CORHIO’s network have access to patient data, including hospital discharge notifications, lab test results, x-ray, MRI and other imaging reports, physician transcription reports and referral information. Later the network will be upgraded to include patient medication lists, allergies and immunizations.

HIE Helps Providers Put Focus on Patients, Not Paper

Attendees of the celebration participated in a puzzle that revealed two patients, a young boy and a senior-aged woman, who were exposed piece by piece from behind a curtain of paper-based patient records. Phyllis Albritton, CORHIO executive director, explained the symbolism of the puzzle, “The health care system is a bunch of different puzzle pieces. All of those puzzle pieces coming together through HIE allow the patient to come to the fore. The relationship between the physician and the patient should be the core and the center of the medicine that we provide across the state of Colorado.”

Kelly Dunkin, vice president of philanthropy for The Colorado Health Foundation, closed the evening by saying, “True HIE involves collaboration, but it also involves visionary leadership and that’s what happened in Boulder County. Getting the state connected to the HIE is a process that will take many years and take many different players both inside and outside of health care, but Coloradans will reap the rewards from this worthwhile investment in the form of better health care and better health outcomes.”

Related Content:

  • Press release: Boulder County Expands Use of Health Information Exchange, Connecting First Physician Office
  • Boulder County Business Report: Urology Office Links to BCH e-Records