Colorado’s Busiest Children’s Hospital Enabling Better Care Through HIE

Date: December 19th, 2012Category: CORHIO e-NewsletterTopics: HIE, Care Coordination, Colorado Hospitals & Health Systems

Children’s Hospital Colorado now connected to the CORHIO health information exchange.

It’s common for children and their families to travel across the state to see the specialists at Children’s Hospital Colorado for testing, specialty consultations, surgery or other types of treatment. In fact, the hospital and its network of outpatient clinics see and provide treatment to more kids than any other health care organization in our seven-state region.

When those patients return to the care of their regular primary care physician, it’s important for the physician to access test results and understand what procedures were performed. This helps ensure the children receive good follow-up care. Therefore, it’s no surprise that many providers with pediatric patients were eagerly waiting for Children’s Colorado to connect to the CORHIO health information exchange (HIE). As of last week, their wait is over. Now community-based pediatricians, family medicine physicians and other qualified health care providers will have easy access to vital health information on their patients from Children’s Hospital.

The CORHIO HIE enables providers to seamlessly receive hospital discharge notifications, lab test results, x-ray, MRI and other imaging reports, physician transcription reports and referral information from all connected hospitals and laboratories, including Children’s Colorado. Later, the CORHIO network will be upgraded to include patient medication lists, allergies and immunizations — and through a partnership with the Colorado Telehealth Network — high-resolution, diagnostic-quality medical images.

Children's Colorado Expands on Existing Network, Improving Care for Kids Across the State

Children's Colorado is known for being a pioneer in enhancing quality and continuity of care through health information technology. It was one of the first freestanding children’s hospitals in the U.S. with a fully integrated EHR. Since 2009, Children’s Colorado has been able to electronically share patient information with two Denver Metro area providers — Exempla Healthcare and Kaiser Permanente Colorado — through functionality in their Epic EHR software system, and has since added University of Colorado Hospital.

Despite the important advancements that the shared Epic EHR network has brought to coordinating care for some Denver Metro patients, it doesn’t allow the majority of independent, community-based medical practitioners easy access because they use a different EHR product — or none at all. To ensure that more patients can benefit from better care coordination, Children’s Colorado connected to CORHIO’s HIE, which can connect to virtually any ONC-certified EHR product, in addition to medical practices that don’t use an EHR system.

“We’ve joined CORHIO to broaden the HIE networks we already have in place and to ensure the medical treatment we provide is immediate and safer for our patients from all corners of the state,” said Children’s Hospital Colorado President and CEO Jim Shmerling.

Practices Like High Country Healthcare Able to Provide Better Care Coordination

With four locations in Summit County, High Country Healthcare is more than 75 miles away from the Children’s Colorado main campus in Aurora. Elizabeth Winfield, MD, a family practitioner with High Country Healthcare praised the hospital’s efforts to connect to the statewide HIE network, “Children's Hospital has always been very good at keeping us inside the information loop and I know that this new CORHIO connectivity will make our already great relationship even better. Through HIE, I can find out details and current patient status before they even return to Summit County. I can see what the specialists are thinking and then the parents are not forced to try to explain to me what is happening or what the specialists told them. I can truly help them navigate the complex health care system as their primary care provider.”